30 November 2010

Elite Triad Blocking Reform



At the turn of the twentieth century, our country gleamed of promise. Having established the first albeit short-lived republic in Asia, the country attained unprecedented human development during the years leading to the Commonwealth era.

Now at the turn of the twenty-first century, the promise remains unfulfilled. There are even those who warn us that we are regressing to a failed state.

Having survived a world war, faced off unending communist and separatist rebellions, embraced democracy, experienced dictatorship, and born of two people's power revolutions, we would have learned the lessons necessary to succeed as a nation. Sadly, we have not. By imagining what we could have become, and looking at what we are now, we have indeed failed to fulfill the promise.

How and why did we fail as a nation? What are the causes of our failure?

Some say the causes are cultural. Others say the causes are structural. In a sense, they are both correct. These causes are interdependent, rather than independent. Everything is integrated, and nothing isolated.i To see one but not the other is like a man with one leg. He can stand and hop, but he cannot walk nor run.

Due to various limitations however, I will write about the structural causes only. Let others more knowledgeable on these matters write about the cultural causes, as well as the interplay between them.

Status Quo Ante

When our forefathers established Asia's first republic, they adopted the unicameral parliamentary system.ii They chose this model free from any pressure from the first colonizer Spain.

When their successors established the Philippine Commonwealth, they adopted the bicameral presidential system.iii They evidently chose this model under the guidance of the second colonizer the US.

Ostensibly, the Philippine bicameral presidential system copied the American model, laden with repetitive check and balance provisions. On closer scrutiny however, it was worse.

Firstly, the president was elected directly at large (PH), and not indirectly by an electoral college of local representatives (US). Secondly, the senators were elected in similar manner (PH), and not from the localities (US). Thirdly, the commonwealth constitution imposed nationality requirements on strategic economic activities (PH), while the mother constitution carried no economic restrictions whatsoever (US).

The presidential and senatorial elections were skewed in favor of the elite few. They were obviously the only citizens anywhere capable of conducting or financing nationwide electoral campaigns.

The economic restrictions appeared ironic. I thought the great strides in human development then were due largely to massive foreign (American) investments in infrastructure and education.

Notably, during the past 75 years, national elections at large had been dominated by rich and famous candidates. Rich candidates are those who could afford to spend millions (now billions) to make themselves known to the voters. Famous candidates are the entertainment, sports and media celebrities who are already known to the voters. Thus, election to public office was based on pure popularity without regard to actual performance.

In this milieu, the oligarchy - comprised of a few closely knit and immensely affluent families - managed to exert strong influence over our national politics and economy.

During the last 25 years, an Elite Triad has emerged to preserve and protect the status quo of unjust social structures. In their present form, they have evolved to become the new enemies of genuine reform.

Elite Triad

What and who is the Elite Triad?

The Elite Triad is a union of local and foreign vested interests. It is comprised of the Kamag-anak, Inc. (KG), the Kapamilya, Inc. (KP) and The Company, Inc. (CI).

KG and KP are large enterprises with holdings in mass media, public utilities and agriculture. As their names imply, they are family based.

The CI is a foreign government institution with a global network. Created for licit intelligence gathering, it is widely known to engage in illicit foreign intervention.iv

The Elite Triad successfully blocked constitutional reform during the FVR, Erap and GMA administrations. The strategy was simple and effective. On one hand, they demonized the main proponents by portraying the move as a power grab or a sell-out. On the other hand, they pacified the advocates with false sympathy by pretending that their opposition was only about timing.

In hindsight, the Elite Triad opposed all constitutional reform, whether limited to certain sections (i.e. term limits under FVR) or articles (i.e. economic provisions under Erap; sub-state for Muslims under GMAv), or encompassing the entire constitution (i.e. Con-Comm under GMA). The mode was not important, whether by people's initiative (under FVRvi and GMAvii), constituent assembly (under Erap and GMA), or constitutional convention (under GMA). What was important was to ensure that no proposed amendment whatsoever was put to a vote by the people.

The Elite Triad also played a key role in the election of Noynoy as president,viii courtesy of Smartmatic's PCOS technology. Why did it support Noynoy? It's obviously because Noynoy, being a clone of his mother Cory, has always opposed constitutional reform in whatever form.

What is the agenda of the Elite Triad?

It is both economic and political, local and regional.

Elite Triad's Economic agenda

Local agenda

The economic agenda of KG and KP is to ensure that local consumers remain the captive market of local monopolists. This is done by protecting Filipino business interests against potential foreign competitors in strategic industries. The protectionist measures ordinarily come in the form of constitutional or statutory prohibitions against the entry of competing foreign investors. For example, the 1987 Constitution requires a minimum 60% Filipino equity requirement for public utilitiesix and agricultural land,x and a full 100% Filipino equity for mass media.xi

With these protectionist clauses in mind, did you ever ask yourself how many among the 90 million Filipinos are financially capable of owning 60% of a public utility (like Meralco, PLDT and Globe), or 100% of a television and radio network or broadsheet (like ABS-CBN, DZMM, PDI and Philstar)?

Incidentally, the 1987 Constitution also requires a minimum 70% Filipino equity for advertising companies.xii I could not understand then why the so-called Cory-Bernas Constitution would digress from previous constitutions and henceforth treat advertising as a strategic industry. I always thought advertising was mainly for commercial and non-political purposes. It would be totally different however if what the framers had in mind was advertising for political and non-commercial purposes. Ad agencies here can work to mold public opinion for or against elective candidates, destabilize government administrations, influence government policies and muddle national issues.

In passing, they probably forgot to impose Filipino equity requirements on survey firms (like SWS and Pulse Asia). As we now know, survey firms are also powerful tools in molding public opinion, when used in conjunction with mass media, under the over-all direction of an ad agency.

In both state and private universities, professors (who do not know any better) implant in the minds of their students the concept that Filipino business interest is synonymous with national interest. This is of course foolish.

In reality the opposite is true. By preventing the entry of foreign investors into the local economy, you actually prevent the creation of jobs, as well as the supply of competing goods. These protectionist measures ironically deprive Filipino workers and consumers, of alternative job opportunities and of lower priced or better quality goods.

In post-graduate schools on business administration, students are taught that there is a divergence between the economic interests of the enterprise owners vis-a-vis the enterprise managers.xiii By analogy, there is a similar divergence between the economic interests of the enterprise owners and the enterprise workers.xiv By further correlation, there is obviously a great divergence between the economic interests of the enterprise owners and the buyers of their goods and services.

The conclusion is inescapable – Filipino business interest is NOT synonymous with Filipino national interest.

Is it not better for a Filipino bread winner to simply work for a foreign company in the country, than to work overseas also under a foreign employer but in a foreign land and under a foreign government? This way the bread winner does not have to leave his or her family for long periods of time.

Does not the principle of social justice say that those who have less in life should have more in law?xv Why does constitution give more protection to the Filipino businessmen, at the expense of the Filipino workers and consumers who have less in life? In many cases (such as public utilities, mass media, plantation farms and universities), the protected class are billionaire businessmen.

Another perplexing rule is the restriction of foreign investments in education.xvi Is state regulation of educational institutions not sufficient to safeguard the national interest?xvii Are not all educational institutions required to adopt the standard government approved curriculum anyway regardless of ownership? Why prevent foreign investors from investing in new classrooms and introducing modern teaching methods? Do not Filipinos themselves seek higher education abroad to improve their educational attainment? Why not invite these foreign schools instead to teach students here in the country? I thought that the perennial shortage of classrooms was conclusive proof that we have an extreme shortage of investments in the education sector.

Still another mind boggling rule is the bar against foreign investors from exploiting oil and other natural resources in the Philippines, unless they first enter into a joint venture with Filipino businessmen.xviii Does not the state own all natural resources under the doctrine of jura regalia?xix Does the state really need the inter-mediation of a Filipino businessman, who is practically just a middleman, before it can enter into a contract with a foreign company? Cannot the state just dispense with the Filipino middleman, who in most if not all cases anyway has neither the technology nor capital to undertake this type of activity?

Foreign agenda

The economic agenda of the CI is more nebulous. Some say it simply wants to defer the commercial exploitation of natural resources throughout the archipelago until 2020, because that is when their current production will start to fall.

How I wish I could validate this disturbing theory, but unfortunately I could not.

I recall however the media instigated controversy about a projected oil venture in the Spratleys involving the Philippines, Vietnam and China. The venture provoked loud expressions of displeasure by the US, and awakened its sleeper agents both inside and outside of the Philippine government.xx

I also recall that the US reaction perplexed the chief executive of PNOC-EDC. I believe he said that they offered the project first to the US. However, they were not interested. Curiously, when he turned to the Chinese and Vietnamese, the US protested.

Do we really have to wait for the US until 2020 before we can start to explore and exploit our oil resources in the Spratleys?

Elite Triad's Political agenda

The political agenda of the Elite Triad is two-fold. The first is to ensure control or strong influence over the selection process for key national government officials. The second is to keep government weak and incapable of introducing changes to the status quo of unjust social structures.

Control or strong influence in the selection of key national government officials is done through the adoption and continuance of nationwide elections at large as the preferred mode of selecting the president and the senators.xxi These officials represent control of the entire executive branch and half of the legislative branch.

The chosen electoral process is combined with ownership and control of national mass media.xxii Recently, the control of mass media has been complemented by ownership, control or influence over the leading survey firms.

All these factors together complete the apparatus of control over the national agenda. The Elite Triad decides what issues are discussed and what are not. Of course, the Elite Triad also decides who is good and who is evil.

Keeping government weak and incapable of challenging the present social order is done in two measures. The first is to separate the executive branch from the legislative branch.xxiii This measure makes for institutional gridlocks between the separated political branches and turns them against each other. The second is to divide the legislative branch into two separate chambers.xxiv This measure also makes for institutional gridlocks between the separated chambers and likewise turns them against each other.

In contrast, under a unicameral parliamentary system, the executive and legislative branches are combined under the parliament, and the parliament in turn is comprised of only one chamber.xxv This is definitely a much stronger government system, capable of putting in check the all powerful Elite Triad itself.

Only a monarchy or a military dictatorship would be stronger than a unicameral parliament. Neither system however is acceptable to the people today.

Perpetuation of Status Quo

To ensure the perpetuation of the unjust social structures, the highest law of the land adopted the most restrictive sovereignty provisions for amending the constitution.

Thus, the 1987 Constitution requires the affirmative vote of three-fourths of all its members to directly propose amendments,xxvi two-thirds of all the members of Congress to call a constitution convention,xxvii and the petition of at least twelve percent (12%) of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three percent (3%) of the registered voters therein, to likewise directly propose amendments through initiative.xxviii

Considering the prevailing government structures where the political branches are separatedxxix and bifurcatedxxx thereby turning them against each other, the manner of selecting the president and the senators skewed in favor of the elite few, taken in relation to the country's fairly large voter base of more than 50 millionxxxi out of a citizen population of more than 90 million,xxxii the mere act of proposing amendments to the constitution has become virtually impossible.

This is apparently the best way to undermine the people's sovereignty and subvert democracy.xxxiii You prevent the conduct of any plebiscite on proposed changes to the constitution, by simply preventing anyone from proposing changes. We can debate all we want provided we cannot vote on it. That is democracy as far as the Elite Triad is concerned.

By comparison, the mother constitution of the US requires only a two-thirds vote by both Houses to directly propose amendments.xxxiv

IEC social tool

For this writing, we may define the concept of Information, Education and Communications (IEC) as a process of engaging people, using various modes of communication, to disseminate information and impart knowledge, for the purpose of changing their behavior.

As a social tool, IEC may be used to promote the general welfare of the people (i.e. health, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, etc.). At the other end however, it may also be used to manipulate the minds of the people, subvert their democracy and violate their sovereignty.

Where the IEC is used in a negative way, the preferred method of manipulation is to “poison the channels of public information.”xxxv

In pursuit of a specific regime change objective, IEC may be directed to vilify the incumbent administration, erode the people's trust and confidence in government, and mobilize support for its ouster and replacement by a friendly regime.

The vilification generally consists of charges of corruption and human rights violations. The evidence or truthfulness of the charges are immaterial. The only thing material is that the charges stick in the minds of the people.

During the recent regime change operation of the Elite Triad against the GMA administration, the IEC focused on questioning the legitimacy of her government by alleging massive cheating during the 2004 elections.xxxvi Foreign intervention became so blatant in that US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Joseph Mussomeli openly praised to high heavens the mutinous Hyatt 10 while being interviewed by ANC 21 of ABS-CBN at the height of the crisis.xxxvii This is what we now know as the Garci tape scandal.xxxviii

Looking back, this IEC operation largely succeeded in vilifying GMA before the local and overseas populace, eroding the people's support for her government. However, it failed to produce the desired regime change to oust her from office.

A source from media opined that this IEC campaign against GMA cost the Elite Triad at least 10 billion pesos during the period of 2005-2010. I thought the actual figure was much higher. The estimate given sounds more like the high end cost of a presidential campaign. The IEC for regime change extended for a period much longer than the usual presidential campaign.

I presume the Elite Triad also poured funds and resources to instigate and finance the various coup attempts against GMA, none of which however came close to the intensity of the December 1989 coup against Cory Aquino.

IEC for constitutional reform

In a positive way, the IEC may also be used to pursue constitutional reform.

Based however on the frustrating experience of the advocates during the last 25 years, it is clear that the IEC cannot be limited to the mere communication of the merits of constitutional reform.


It is because the Elite Triad does not play fair. It plays dirty.

Apart from the basic IEC focusing on the merits of shifting to a unicameral parliamentary system and lifting restrictions on foreign investments in strategic industries, the advocates will also need to counter the dirty tricks of the Elite Triad.

As a citizen advocate for reform, I am not saying that we need to activate our own dirty tricks department. What I am saying is that we also need to exert a major major effort to counter the lies of the Elite Triad with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

With this in mind, I offer another meaning for IEC:

Iidentify the key players and affiliated groups of the Elite Triad, particularly those in media and the academe, so the people may recognize the false prophets in their midst.

Eexpose the vested interests and anomalous transactions of the Elite Triad, particularly the affiliate transactions of plunder proportions during the first Aquino administration,xxxix so the people may be cautious of the wolves in sheep's clothing.

Ccall on the people to unite and reject the lies and pretenses of the Elite Triad, because no one else will protect the people's interests except the people themselves.

I am not saying that we do an Osama Bin Laden. What I am saying is that we do a Mahatma Gandhi. We must take peaceful, non-violent and concerted action to resist and reject the Elite Triad.

The ultimate objective will be to degrade the capability of the Elite Triad to dominate our politics and economy. At that point, they may continue to engage our people and the state, but no longer from a dominant position of control and influence.


Dodong aka Ka Kiko
30 November 2010

i See Orion Perez Dumdum, Philippine Progress: Shift in Sports, Shift in System, 07 July 2010, http://antipinoy.com/philippineprogress.

ii Demosthenes B. Donato, Proposed Amendments to the 1987 Constitution and the Malolos Constitution of 1899, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.proposed_amendments_to_the_1987_constitution_and_the_malolos_constitution_of_1899.pdf.

iii 1935 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Articles VI-VIII.

iv Carmen N. Pedrosa, The story within the story, Philippine Star, 07 September 2008, http://dodongakakakiko.blogspot.com/2009/07/story-within-story.html.

v Demosthenes B. Donato, Comments on the GRP-MILF Peace Process, Rev. 11 March 2010, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.comments_on_the_grp-milf_peace_process.01_december_2008.rev11_march_2010.pdf.

vi Santiago v. Comelec, G.R. No. 127325, 19 March 1997, http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1997/mar1997/127325.htm.

vii Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. Nos. 174153 and 174299, Decision, 25 October 2006, available at http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.lambino_v_comelec.decision.25_october_2006.pdf. Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. Nos. 174153 and 174299, Resolution, 21 November 2006, available at http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.lambino_v_comelec.resolution.21_november_2006.pdf. Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. Nos. 174153 and 174299, Resolution, 16 January 2007, available at http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.lambino_v_comelec.resolution.16_january_2007.pdf. Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. Nos. 174153 and 174299, Letter, 05 February 2007, available at http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.lambino_v_comelec.letter.05_february_2007.pdf.

viii Carmen N. Pedrosa, Pieces of a Puzzle, Philippine Star, 12 September 2009, http://dodongakakakiko.blogspot.com/2009/09/yellow-revolution-in-2010.html.

ix 1987 Constitution, Article XII National Economy and Patrimony, Sec. 11.

x See 1987 Constitution, Article XII National Economy and Patrimony, Secs. 2, 3, and 7.

xi 1987 Constitution, Article XVI General Provisions, Sec. 11(1).

xii 1987 Constitution, Article XVI General Provisions, Sec. 11(2).

xiii Meckling, William H. and Jensen, Michael C., Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure (July 1, 1976).

xiv Demosthenes B. Donato, Draft Bill – Profit Sharing and Stock Options, Rev. 2008,
http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.draft_bill.profit_sharing_&_stock_options.2001.pdf. Explanatory Note –
Profit Sharing and Stock Options, Rev. 2008,

xv 1987 Constitution, Article II Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Sec. 10.

xvi 1987 Constitution, Article XIV, Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports, Sec. 4(2).

xvii 1987 Constitution, Article XIV, Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports, Sec. 4(1).

xviii 1987 Constitution, Article XII National Economy and Patrimony, Sec. 2.

xix 1987 Constitution, Article XII National Economy and Patrimony, Sec. 2.

xx Tarra Quismundo, US seeks peaceful, transparent resolution of Spratlys issue, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03/09/2008, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080309-123734/US-seeks-peaceful-transparent-resolution-of-Spratlys-issue.

xxi Demosthenes B. Donato, Indirect Elections for President is the Better Method of Representative Democracy, 14 November 2010, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.indirect_elections.14_november_2010.pdf.

xxii Carmen N. Pedrosa, The Kris and Noynoy Show on ABS-CBN, Philippine Star, 07 November 2009, http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=521031.

xxiii Demosthenes B. Donato, American Presidentialism not Applicable to the Philippines, 14 November 2010, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.presidentialism.14_november_2010.pdf.

xxiv Demosthenes B. Donato, American Bicameralism not Applicable to the Philippines, 14 November 2010, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.bicameralism.14_november_2010.pdf.

xxv Demosthenes B. Donato, Three (3) Basic Advantages of the Unicameral Parliamentary System, 14
November 2010, http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.unicameral_parliamentarism.14_november_2010.pdf.

xxvi 1987 Constitution, Article XVII, Sec. 1(1).

xxvii 1987 Constitution, Article XVII, Sec. 3.

xxviii 1987 Constitution, Article XVII, Sec. 2.

xxix Supra Donato, Presidentialism.

xxx Supra Donato, Bicameralism.

xxxi Voters of 2010 Philippines presidential elections exceed 50-million, Xinhua, Manila Bulletin, 09 January
2010, http://www.mb.com.ph/node/237631/voter.

xxxii Summary of Project Population, National Statistics Office, 2006,

xxxiii 1987 Constitution, Article II Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Sec. 1.

xxxiv Constitution of the United States of America, Article V.

xxxv Carmen Pedrosa, Fascism in the Streets, Philippine Star, 02 March 2008,

xxxvi Supra Pedrosa, The story.

xxxvii Transcript of Chargé d’Affaires Joseph Mussomeli’s interview on ANC 21’s “Dateline Philippines,”
with Ricky Carandang, 08 July 2005. Previously available at the US Embassy – Manila website at
Excerpt of ANC 21 interview:
Ricky: Can you categorically tell us right now, sir, that the United States Government supports the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
CDA: I could categorically tell you that we support the rule of law. Within that context, we believe that the President is still the President, obviously. That it is within her legal rights to remove her cabinet; her Cabinet is hers to do with as she pleases, but that doesn’t mean we’re not disappointed in that. It doesn’t mean that we’re not worried; this is something that distracts from the reforms that she was committed to and we hope is still committed to. You know, I know many of he Cabinet members who have resigned now, and the ones that I know are all very decent, and good people, patriots -- people who are concerned for the welfare of the Filipino people. So, it is a worrisome thing, but it is certainly within her rights. (emphasis supplied)
Ricky: Do you agree with the characterization of some of the President’s allies that these cabinet members who spoke this morning are “adventurous?”
CDA: No, I couldn’t agree with that. I know some of them very well, and the ones I know, frankly, have accepted these posts as an act of patriotism and are concerned for the welfare of the people. They could make a lot more money and have a lot more prestigious roles in the private sector, but they have chosen to be in the Cabinet... (emphasis supplied)
Ricky: …that pertain to reports, widespread speculation that the United States may have had some involvement on this. If you recall when the tapes first came out, Secretary Bunye himself said that there were reports that the Americans had something to do with it, and of course you said that you had nothing do with it.
CDA: Right, and that was actually proven true.

xxxviii Gonzalo M. Jurado, Ph.D, The Present as History: A Narration and Interpretation of Events, 31 December 2009, http://dodongakakakiko.blogspot.com/2010/01/hello-garci-and-aragoncillo-project_12.html.

xxxix Efren L. Danao, Government still owns Meralco, Manila Times, 14 May 2008. Stephanie Dychiu, Cory's land
reform to test Noynoy's political will, GMA News,
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182195/corys-land-reform-legacy-to-test-noynoys-political-will. Emil Jurado,
Distorting History, 23 February 2010, Manila Standard Today,
Bobby M. Reyes, Not Getting Mad at, But Getting Even with Tita Cory, 07 September 2007,

10 November 2010

People's orgs seek recount via ballot images

Concerned citizens representing various people's organizations filed with the Supreme Court on 11 November 2010, a mandamus petition to compel Comelec to disclose the digital photo images of all ballots cast during the 10 May 2010 elections.

The proponents declared the purpose of their legal action -- to enable the people to audit the automated election system (AES) and verify the correctness of the electronic election results.

The petitioners invoked their constitutional right to information, to secure the “sanctity of the ballot”.

They expressed serious concern on the actions of Comelec itself, in leaving the AES vulnerable to electronic fraud, by disabling critical security features in violation of existing laws and rules.

They questioned the following actions of Comelec:

(a) removing the requirement of digital signatures for the individual members of the board election inspectors (BEI), leaving the electronic processes of counting and transmission to the total control of the private contractor Smartmatic, contrary to law.

(b) disabling the built-in ultra violet (UV) scanning capability of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine and their subsequent replacement by hand-held scanners, virtually leaving the system incapable of detecting fake ballots, since the use of the hand-held scanners was rendered impractical on election day due to the clustering of up to 7 precincts per machine.

(c) deviating from the mandated random manual audit (RMA) process, where the RMA was not conducted immediately after the transmission of election results, not conducted right at the precinct, and the results of the audit were not released immediately after the audit.

Various people's organizations supported the legal action, i.e. Filipino Migrant Workers Group (FMW), Global Filipino Nation (GFN), Global Filipinos Australia, Global Filipinos Canada, Our Barangay, Inc., Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino (PPP Central), Philippine American Press Club - Northern California, Lawyers for Transparency (L4T), and We Citizen Advocates for Reforms Movement (We Care), Inc., under the umbrella of the Protect our Democracy Movement (PODM).

Nonetheless, the proponents clarified that their action was not intended to be a substitute for an election protest.

Dodong aka Ka Kiko

10 October 2010

“Hypocrisy holds government and the nation in its grip" - former NSA

Former NSA claims Noy’s gov’t to soon self-destruct

By Mario J. Mallari
The Daily Tribune

The shadowy National Security Adviser and Defense Secretary of former President Arroyo, Norberto Gonzales, yesterday claimed there are strong indications that the administration of President Aquino could self-destruct sooner, as he expressed belief the country needs a “new political initiative” that will let the people gain control of and continue the process of systemic change.

“There are strong indications that the current government could self-destruct sooner than we expect. But this position is alright if we are merely after seeing end to the present reign of hypocrisy,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales, however, stressed that his move is not, in any way, aimed at destabilizing the administration of President Aquino.

“We should emphasize that this is not destabilization. It’s really an honest to goodness opposition. It’s bad not to have any opposition in a democracy,” said Gonzales.

The former defense chief cited the “questionable” results of the last May 10 automated elections and the unceremonious relief of some government officials for perceived closeness to the previous administration.

“While majority of our people may, for now, believe the announced results of the last election, we know that manipulation and cheating did take place on a major scale and that sooner or later, the legitimacy issue will come out,” said Gonzales.

“…I think the basic problem is there are a lot of people being eased out without cause except being identified with the former administration. How will you interpret that?” Gonzales explained.

Gonzales also noted that presently “hypocrisy holds government and the nation in its grip.”

“We should not allow our people to be deceived into treading a ‘straight road’ to a problematic future at the hands of a leadership with neither the competence nor the character to govern well,” Gonzales warned.

Noting the self-destructive tendencies of the present government, he warns of another danger—that of concerned groups taking a ‘do nothing strategy’ today. He reminded that the situation can be used to advance certain selfish ambitions.

“If we are to undergo another leadership change, let us make sure the process remains non-violent, democratic, and truly leading to systemic change,” Gonzales stressed.

Gonzales’ assessment of the country’s present political challenge is contained in a paper titled “Reclaiming our Rights to Initiate Change” released last Sunday, a few days after Aquino’s 100th day in office.

The paper reaffirmed the former government official’s choice of putting up a shadow cabinet-led political movement to effect real change in the country’s political process towards building the kind of society Filipinos deserve. The idea is an old advocacy of Gonzales, who is also the founding chairperson of the Philippine Democratic Socialist Party (PDSP).

Gonzales argued that the nation cannot succeed in building the good society it deserves unless the elitist character of Philippine politics is transformed and the people become real participants of the change process.

Gonzales explained the shadow cabinet-led political movement he seeks to build will bring together the people with authentic mass leaders and leaders of strategic sectors of society to define, from the start, a common vision of society and the common good, prepare for governing well, seek access to state power and, when in government, govern well.

It will also gather people who have served and those who are currently serving government to harness their experiences for good governance. It will link people and bureaucracy as “symbiotic forces for nation building.”

“The way the movement will acquire state power will determine the way it will govern,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales’ paper also touched Charter change, saying the people’s common vision of society and the common good will become the foundation of the country’s fundamental law.

The paper defined the vision of tomorrow, in bold stroke, as becoming a First World nation and points out the importance for society to pursue and commit as one to a vision with guaranteed set of universal benefits for all, both rich and poor.

Gonzales noted the increasing impatience of the people with the dysfunctions of Philippine politics to emphasize the urgency of addressing the country’s continuing political challenge.

The former defense chief said he has not discussed his paper to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

At the same time, Gonzales said he is not looking at active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to back his group, saying active military personnel should be insulated from politics.

“I always emphasized that we never approach military people in the active service, they should not be involved into politics…but those who are retired that’s another story,” said Gonzales.

18 August 2010

Hacienda Luisita - lessons we refuse to learn

Holding on: A Hacienda Luisita timeline from the Spanish to the Noynoy eras

Article posted August 18, 2010 - 11:19 PM

Spanish Period

Hacienda Luisita was once owned by the “Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas," also known as "Tabacalera", founded in November 1881 by Don Antonio López y López, a Spaniard from Santander, Cantabria, Spain.

Lopez acquired the estate in 1882, a year before his death, and named it “Hacienda Luisita" after his wife, Luisa Bru y Lassús.

Lopez was considered a financial genius and the “most influential Spanish businessman of his generation." He counted the King of Spain as a personal friend.

Luisita was just one of his haciendas. Lopez also owned estates in other parts of the country: Hacienda Antonio (named after his eldest son), Hacienda San Fernando, and Hacienda Isabel (named after his eldest daughter).

Tabacalera’s incorporators included the Sociedad General de Crédito Inmobiliario Español, Banque de Paris (now Paribas), and Bank of the Netherlands (now ABN-AMRO). Luisita was a sugar and tobacco plantation.

American Period

During the American Occupation (1898 to 1946), the Tabacalera experienced prosperous times because of the legendary sweet tooth of the Americans.

As Cuba could not supply all of the sugar requirements of the United States, they turned to the Philippines. At one point, Hacienda Luisita supplied almost 20% of all sugar in the US.

Japanese Regime

During the Japanese occupation, Hacienda Luisita continued to operate, like all haciendas and tabacaleras in the Philippines, because the Japanese wanted to ensure that commodities such as sugar and rice were available to Filipinos.

Pepe Cojuangco Period

Problems with Huk rebels led the Spanish owners of Tabacalera to sell Hacienda Luisita and the sugar mill Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay blocked the sale of the plantation to the wealthy Lópezes of Iloilo, fearing that they might become too powerful as they already owned Meralco, Negros Navigation, Manila Chronicle, ABS-CBN, and various haciendas in Western Visayas

The late Senator Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. discussed with the late President Ramon Magsaysay the possibility of his father-in-law, Jose Cojuanco Sr., acquiring Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac from their Spanish owners.

Magsaysay was a “ninong" (principal sponsor) at the wedding of Ninoy and the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, parents of the incumbent President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III.

August 1957
The Philippine government facilitated the Cojuangcos' takeover of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac by:

(1) Providing Central Bank (CB) support to help the Cojuangcos obtain a dollar loan from the Manufacturer's Trust Company (MTC) in New York for the purchase of the sugar mill (Central Azucarera de Tarlac). The CB had to deposit part of the country’s dollar reserves with MTC for MTC to release Cojuangco’s loan. The CB's intervention was done under the condition that Cojuangco would also acquire Hacienda Luisita, not just the sugar mill, "with a view to distributing the hacienda to small farmers".

(2) Granting the Cojuangcos a peso loan through the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to purchase the hacienda

November 25, 1957
The GSIS approved the loan made by the Cojuangcos amounting to P5.9 million, on the condition that Hacienda Luisita would be “subdivided among the tenants who shall pay the cost thereof under reasonable terms and conditions."

However, four months later, Jose Cojuangco Sr. asked the GSIS to change the phrase to "...shall be sold at cost to tenants, should there be any." (itals by ed.) This phrase would be cited later on as justification not to distribute the hacienda’s land.

April 8, 1958
Jose Cojuangco, Sr.’s company, the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), became the new owner of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

Ninoy Aquino, President Cory’s husband and President Noynoy’s father, was appointed the hacienda’s first administrator.

The Ferdinand Marcos presidency

Ferdinand Edralin Marcos is elected president.

The 10-year window given by the Philippine government for the Cojuangcos to distribute the land elapsed with no land distribution taking place. During this time, farmers began to organize into groups to push for land distribution.

The Cojuangcos, however, insisted that there were no tenants on the hacienda, hence no need to distribute land.

The government sent three letters to the Cojuangcos between the 1960s to the 1970s to follow up the issue of land distribution.

September 21, 1972
Marcos declared Martial Law. His most vocal critic, Ninoy Aquino, was among the first to be arrested.

May 7, 1980
The Marcos government filed a case before the Manila Regional Trial Court (MRTC) to prod the Cojuangco-owned TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform so that the land could be distributed to the farmers at cost. The case was filed as Ninoy Aquino and his family were leaving for exile in the US.

January 10, 1981
The Cojuangcos responded to the government complaint by arguing that the land could not be distributed because the hacienda did not have tenants to begin with. They also argued that sugar lands were not covered by existing agrarian reform legislations. Anti-Marcos groups claimed that the government’s case was an act of harassment against Ninoy Aquino’s family

August 21, 1983
After living in exile for three years in Boston, Massachusetts, Ninoy Aquino returned to Manila. He was assassinated on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport.

December 2, 1985
The MRTC ordered TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. The Cojuangcos decried this as an act of harassment because Cory was set to run against Marcos in the February 1986 snap elections. The family later elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals.

December 3, 1985
On December 3, 1985, Cory Aquino officially filed her certificate of candidacy for President. Land reform was among the pillars of her campaign. She promised to give “land to the tiller" and to subject Hacienda Luisita to land reform.

February 1986
The February 7 snap election was marred by allegations of widespread fraud against Marcos. The anti-Marcos sentiments led to the “People Power Revolution," a series of nonviolent and prayerful mass street demonstrations that toppled the dictatorship and installed Cory Aquino to the presidency.

Cory Aquino presidency

January 22, 1987
Eleven months into the Cory Aquino presidency, thousands of frustrated farmers marched to Malacañang demanding land reform and the distribution of land at no cost to beneficiaries. In a violent dispersal, 13 protesters were killed in what has gone down in history as the “Mendiola Massacre".

July 22, 1987
Cory issues Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229, outlining her agrarian reform program, which covers sugar and coconut lands. The outline also includes a provision for the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), a mode of complying with the land reform law that did not require actual transfer of the land to the tiller.

March 17, 1988
The government under Cory Aquino withdrew its case against the Cojuangcos. Cory's appointee, Solicitor General Frank Chavez, filed a motion for the Court of Appeals to dismiss the civil case the Marcos government filed and won at the Manila Regional Trial Court against the Cojuangcos. The Department of Agrarian Reform and the GSIS, now headed by Aquino appointees Philip Juico and Feliciano “Sonny" Belmonte, respectively, did not object to the motion to dismiss the case.

The Central Bank also did not object to dismissal of case as it assumed that Luisita would be distributed anyway through the upcoming Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

May 18, 1988
The Court of Appeals dismissed the case filed by the Marcos government against the Cojuangco-owned TADECO. The government itself, under Cory, moved to withdraw the case that compelled TADECO to distribute land.

June 10, 1988
President Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. A clause in the agrarian reform program included SDO, which allows landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land.

August 23, 1988
Tarlac Development Co. (TADECO) established Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to implement the distribution of stocks to farmers in the hacienda.

The Cojuangcos justified Luisita’s SDO by saying it was impractical to divide the hacienda’s 4,915.75 hectares of land among 6,296 farm workers because this would give farmers less than one hectare of land each (or 0.78 hectares of land per person).

May 9, 1989
Luisita’s farm workers were asked to choose between stocks or land in a referendum. The SDO won 92.9% of the vote. A second referendum and information campaign were held five months later, and the SDO won again, getting 96.75% of the vote.

Father Joaquin Bernas, a 1987 Constitutional Commission member, said Luisita’s SDO is inconsistent with the Constitution. “The [SDO] is a loophole because it does not support the Constitution’s desire that the right of farmers to become owners of the land they till should be promoted by government," Bernas said in his June 27, 1989 column in the Manila Chronicle.

May 11,1989
When the CARP was implemented in Hacienda Luisita in 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of the plantation was pegged at 33 percent, while the Cojuangcos retained 67 percent.

Luisita’s SDO agreement spelled out a 30-year schedule for transferring the stocks to the farm workers:

“At the end of each fiscal year, for a period of 30 years, the SECOND PARTY (HLI) shall arrange with the FIRST PARTY (TADECO) the acquisition and distribution to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers) on the basis of number of days worked and at no cost to them of one-thirtieth (1/30) of 118,391,976.85 shares of the capital stock of the SECOND PARTY (HLI) that are presently owned and held by the FIRST PARTY (TADECO), until such time as the entire block of 118,391,976.85 shares shall have been completely acquired and distributed to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers)."

November 21, 1989
Agrarian Reform Secretary and now Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, approved the SDO agreement of Luisita.

However, Santiago's tenure at the DAR only lasted two months. In 2005, Santiago, already a senator, said Cory allegedly removed her from the DAR because of a comment she made to the media—that Cory should inhibit herself from being the chairperson of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), which approves SDO agreements.

Fidel Ramos presidency

September 1, 1995
On September 1, 1995, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tarlac (Provincial Board of Tarlac) passed a resolution that reclassified 3,290 out of Luisita’s 4,915 hectares from agricultural to commercial, industrial, and residential. The governor of Tarlac province at that time was Margarita “Tingting" Cojuangco, wife of Jose “Peping" Cojuangco, Jr., brother of Cory Aquino.

Out of the 3,290 reclassified hectares, only 500 hectares were approved for conversion by the DAR.

August 14, 1996
The Department of Agrarian Reform approved for conversion 500 hectares of the Luisita land.

Gloria Arroyo presidency

By this time, the farm workers’ daily wage flattened at P194.50 and work days were down to one per week. The hacienda workers then filed a petition with the DAR to have the SDO agreement revoked.

October 14, 2003
Workers from the HLI supervisory group petitioned the DAR to revoke the SDO, saying they were not receiving the dividends and other benefits earlier promised to them. Two months later, a petition to revoke the SDO bearing more than 5,300 signatures was filed by union officers at the DAR to revoke the SDO and stop land conversion in Luisita.

July 2004
The union tried to negotiate a wage increase to P225 per day. Workers also asked that the work days be 2 to 3 days per week, instead of just once a week. The management disagreed, claiming that the company was losing money.

October 1, 2004
Luisita management retrenched 327 farm workers, including union officers.

November 6, 2004
Almost all 5,000 members of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and 700 members of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) staged a protest against the mass retrenchment.

November 16, 2004
Violence erupted between the protesters, the police and military forces. At least seven people were killed, 121 were injured, 32 from gunshot wounds. This incident eventually became known as the “Luisita massacre."

The original petition the farm workers submitted lay dormant at the DAR since it was filed in December 2003, but began to move after the November 2004 massacre.

November 25, 2004 to February 22, 2005
The DAR's Task Force Luisita conducted an investigation and focus group discussions among the farm workers.

July 2005
The Arroyo-Aquino alliance broke up in July 2005, the same month Task Force Luisita submitted the findings and recommendations from its investigation, which became the government’s basis for revoking Luisita’s Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and ordering the distribution of the hacienda’s land to the farmers a few months later.

August 2005
A special legal team was formed by the DAR to review the report submitted by Task Force Luisita in July 2005. On September 23, 2005, the special legal team submitted its terminal report recommending the revocation of Luisita’s SDO agreement.

December 2004
In December 2004, a month after the Luisita massacre, picket lines were established around the hacienda. Soon after, eight people who supported the farmers’ cause or had evidence supporting their case were murdered one by one.

The killings began on December 8, 2004 with the death of Marcelino Beltran, a retired army officer turned peasant leader. Beltran was assassinated in his house just before he was to testify about bullet trajectories at the Senate and Congress on December 13 and 14, 2004.

September 22, 2005
Task Force Luisita recommended the revocation of the stock distribution agreement forged in May 1989, saying the SDO failed to fulfill the objectives of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law about promoting social justice and improving the lives of the farmers.

December 22, 2005
PARC issued Resolution No. 2005-32-01, ordering the revocation of Luisita’s SDO agreement and the distribution of the hacienda’s land to farmer beneficiaries.

February 1, 2006
HLI asked the Supreme Court to prevent the PARC from enforcing the resolution.

June 2006
The Supreme Court granted HLI's petition and issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the PARC from canceling the SDO agreement.

June 2007
Negotiations between the HLI management and some farmers began after representatives of AMBALA and the Supervisory group wrote to DAR that they are amenable to an out-of-court settlement.

Noynoy Aquino presidency

February 9, 2010
In Tarlac, then-Senator Noynoy Aquino said at the kick-off of his presidential campaign that Hacienda Luisita’s land would be distributed to farm workers by 2014.

June 30, 2010
Benigno Aquino III takes oath as the 15th Philippine president.

August 6, 2010
HLI and factions of farmers' groups sign a compromise agreement giving the farmers the chance to remain as HLI stockholders, or receive their share of Hacienda Luisita land. Many voted to retain their stocks and receive cash from HLI, only to complain later that they got minuscule amounts.

August 11, 2010
HLI asked the Supreme Court to approve the compromise deal.

August 16, 2010
A faction of the farmers’ groups asked the SC to junk the compromise deal because it was signed even before the high court could rule on the validity of the stock distribution option (SD), one of the two choices offered by HLI to the farmers in the agreement (the other choice was land distribution). The farmers’ also questioned the authority of the signatories in the agreement who claimed that they were representatives of the plantation’s farmer-beneficiaries.

August 18, 2010
For the first time since the land dispute was brought to its doors four years ago, the SC holds oral arguments to hear the Hacienda Luisita case.

Compiled by Andreo Calonzo, Veronica Pulumbarit, and Howie Severino, GMANews.TV

06 July 2010

Probe past administrations too, Cardinal urges Aquino

Article posted July 04, 2010 - 03:33 PM

Investigate the former president, but include the previous administrations as well.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales thus chided President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III for having his Truth Commission focus on the alleged crimes of his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, saying he should at least be consistent and probe other past administrations.

“We should be consistent. Even former presidents who allegedly committed similar mistakes during their administration should be submitted for investigation," Rosales said in an article posted on the news site of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

The bishop nevertheless said he favored subjecting Arroyo to an investigation. “It’s just right to bring (before justice) all those who violated the law, not just one person, so that it would (appear) as a lesson to all," he added.

While Arroyo could be liable for some wrongdoings, she is not the only one who should be charged, according to the Archbishop of Manila.

Aquino formed the Truth Commission, an independent body headed by a former Arroyo ally and retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., to investigate allegations of corruption, human rights violation and other excesses of the previous administration... —VS, GMANews.TV

01 June 2010

The truth will set us free


Monday, May 31. 2010
Let citizens access ballot images to confirm the random manual audit

The random manual audit (RMA) conducted by the Comelec has lost much of its credibility for the following reasons:

1. while the RMA should have been conducted immediately after the electronic transmission of results, many audits were conducted the next day or even later, providing more time for malicious intervention and tampering;

2. while the RMA should have been conducted right at the precinct where many stakeholders are present, many audits were conducted elsewhere, such as in canvassing centers or the treasurer's office, where the relocation and physical transport of ballot boxes created opportunities for more malicious intervention and tampering;

3. while the RMA should have been conducted in the presence of stakeholders like political party watchers, election watchdogs, and the voting public to witness the process, many audits were done without these stakeholders, whose presence is essential to the credibility of the process;

4. while the results of the audit should have been released immediately after the audit, the results went through several days up to a week or more of “processing” before release; in fact, many results still have not been released, nearly three weeks after the audits were conducted; and

5. while the Comelec should have released the actual manual counts and the earlier machine counts, leaving it to the public to make our own judgment about the results, Comelec officials have repeatedly told the media their findings about “minimal discrepancies” without releasing the actual manual and machine results on which the public can make an independent judgment.

For these reasons, the RMA has lost much of its credibility and it is hard to allay suspicions that its results have been sanitized. Without a credible audit, the public remains in the dark about the accuracy as well as the integrity of the PCOS machine counts.

Halalang Marangal (HALAL) has proposed a way to empower citizens to double-check the RMA and settle the questions about the accuracy and integrity of PCOS counts once and for all: Let all the ballot images stored in the 1,145 CF main memory cards coming from the audited precincts be made public in unencrypted form, grouped by precinct cluster. Then citizens and stakeholders can themselves tally the votes in these audited precincts and compare their findings with the findings of the RMA teams and the Comelec. If the audits were indeed done properly and public doubts about the RMA process are baseless, our counts should match very closely the counts of the audit teams. If so, then we can ourselves vouch for the credibility of the RMA process.

Here are the details of the HALAL proposal: once the ballot images are unencrypted, they will be in a standard format called JPEG, which can be displayed on any computer. All ballot images in one precinct cluster can be compressed into a single file called a zipped file and accompanied by its hash code, to ensure authenticity. The 1,145 compressed files with their hash codes can be made available for download at Comelec websites as well as made available to the public on DVDs, without copyright protection. While cheats have mastered the fine art of ballot box substitution, it will be a huge challenge for them to create new ballot images now and substitute these for the authentic ones stored on the main memory cards.

The public release of ballot images can start with the 1,145 audited precinct clusters subjected to the random manual audit (RMA), so that people may independently confirm the results of the RMA. But nothing prevents the Comelec from making public the ballot images of all the 76,347 precinct clusters. By doing so, the Comelec will effectively be restoring the right of voters, provided for in the Automated Election Law, to verify if the machines correctly registered their choices. This time, the Comelec cannot say that voter verification will delay the voting process.

In the pre-2010 system, candidates and voters could see how their votes were counted one vote at a time. Citizens were active witnesses in tallying the votes that would eventually select their leaders among the various candidates. This was living democracy. We lost this democratic process under automated elections. Today, we have no idea if the machines counted our votes. Excluding candidates and voters from the counting of the votes is actually a big step backward in electoral democracy.

Putting the ballot images online will not only restore that democratic function and truly empower citizens in ensuring that their votes are properly counted, but it will also make it much easier for candidates to accept defeat.

Candidates and voters should see each vote counted, because every vote counts.

21 May 2010

Tip of the "digital" iceberg?

Discrepancies found by PPCRV: tip of the iceberg?

News reports say the PPCRV has received 70,255 and encoded 43,035 election returns ERs). Out of these, they found 29 discrepancies, or an average of one in 1,484 ERs (.07% error rate). PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa was quoted saying, “We can say that the election is clean because the discrepancy is very minimal.”

Unfortunately, computers are not evaluated that way. If your spreadsheet program makes one error for every 1,484 cells, junk it at once, because it is useless! If your wordprocessor changes one of every 1,484 characters it processes, junk it too.

While the analog side of an automated system (such as the scanning of marks) may introduce errors, we expect from the digital side zero error. Even a single error in a million characters or operations is a cause for worry, because it suggests a bug (a problem) in the machine’s logic. When testing software, testers assume that if you find one bug, more hidden bugs must exist. Unless that bug is found and properly evaluated, we can’t say if the problems it can cause are minor or major. All we know is, something is wrong with the software.

Unless the 29 discrepancies have been traced to the particular portion of Smartmatic software that caused them, and other portions of the software have been searched for similar bugs, it it premature to declare the election “clean”.

PPCRV grouped the 29 discrepancies into four:

1.Candidates got zero votes (four machines). It is not clear from the news report whether some or all of the candidates got zero, and whether this occurred in the transmitted or the printed ERs, so we will leave this type of discrepancy for future analysis.

2.A candidate got one less vote during transmission (at least two machines). The printed ER says a candidate got so many votes. But the transmitted ER has one vote less. That’s a “bawas”. Now, why would that happen? We had been worried earlier that the PCOS machine would print something, but transmit something else. And here’s the proof that the PCOS machine does print something but transmit something else. This is called malicious code. That it exists in one part of the system suggests that other parts of the system may also contain malicious code. In this particular case, the vote-shaving involved only one vote. But it is just as likely that the instruction could deduct not one but two – or for that matter, three or more. The discovery of malicious code really calls for a thorough review of the Smartmatic source code.

3.Total votes in the transmitted ER was less than ten (nineteen machines). The printed ER has several hundred votes, but the transmitted ER has less than ten. The Comelec had earlier explained this away as follows: the board of election inspectors mistakenly transmitted the results of the previous final testing and sealing (FTS) instead of the May 10 results. This means that the FTS data are not zeroed, even if the May 10 data are zeroed at the start of voting. Here’s another case of malicious code. It means that the PCOS machines keep not one but two (and perhaps more) versions of vote data – the data from the FTS, and the authentic May 10 data.

4.Total votes in the printed ER was less than ten (four machines). The transmitted ER has several hundred votes, but the printed ER has less than ten. This confirms that the PCOS machine keeps not one but at least two versions of vote data. It also suggests that BEIs, although it is not in the Comelec general instructions, can actually choose which vote data to print or transmit. In the third type of discrepancy, the BEI correctly printed the May 10 vote data but inadvertently transmitted the FTS data. In the fourth type of discrepancy, they inadvertently printed the FTS vote data but correctly transmitted the May 10 vote data. They must have pressed some keys, or done something different, that would either print the FTS data, or transmit the FTS data. These are undocumented options apparently triggered by hidden commands the BEI must have inadvertently pressed. This is another case of malicious code.

Let us be more systematic about this. There are four possibilities: 1) print May 10 data, transmit May 10 data; 2) print FTS data, transmit FTS data; 3) print May 10 data, transmit FTS data; and 4) print FTS data, transmit May 10 data.

The first one is the honest option, if you want to report exactly what the PCOS machine says it counted. The fact that other possibilities exist already indicate the existence of malicious code.

The third and fourth possibilities are BEI mistakes, caught by the PPCRV as its third and fourth types of discrepancy, respectively. We have already confirmed that these possibilities exist. That there are only 23 cases, means only 23 BEIs made mistakes among those who knew about the hidden commands. This is the tip of the iceberg that PPCRV stumbled on but consider “minimal”.

The second one is the undetected dishonest case: the BEI sends a false report instead of what the PCOS machine counted. This will not show up as a discrepancy. To detect it, we can: 1) count the votes in the ballots and compare the results with the machine count; 2) examine the CF cards in case they still contain both the false and the authentic vote data; 3) search the PPCRV and Comelec database for ERs whose transmitted and printed versions both contain ten total votes or less. The last method will not work, however, if the FTS before the elections was secretly done not with ten ballots but with several hundred. In fact, this looks like a plausible cheating method.

We must thank the PPCRV for detecting these discrepancies. They prove the existence of malicious code in the Smartmatic software and suggest a way high-tech cheating could have been done. Now, we have clues and can investigate further.

20 May 2010



14 May 2010

Electronic election fraud?

Isn't it statistically improbable that Gibo Teodoro got only about 3.5 million votes in the recent presidential elections? Wasn't he at least more popular than Jose de Venecia in 1998? What about Erap Estrada and Bayani Fernando losing in their respective bailiwicks, and Manny Villar losing in his own precinct?

Curiously, the election figures closely follow the pre-election surveys of SWS and Pulse Asia. This seems eerily unusual.

More important than making one's preferred candidate win, is making the system of voting work. It will break the nation's heart if massive electronic cheating is eventually uncovered. More so if those who complain the loudest turn out to benefit the largest.

In the coming days, the Comelec, Smartmatic, PPCRV and the leading candidates will need to convince the majority of the voters that no "electronic election fraud" happened.

Acknowledging that the system is more important than the candidate, let's hope for the best that the May 2010 results reflected only a failure in the electoral campaign rather than a failure of elections. Then again we should also prepare for the worst.

Dodong aka Ka Kiko

* * *

A shot at the heart of the nation
FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) Updated May 15, 2010 12:00AM

The question before us is not about losing or winning. If that were the only reason we should hail the example of candidates who gallantly conceded in the presidential contest — Villar, Teodoro and Gordon as soon as the unofficial PPCRV count was out putting Noynoy ahead.

Like Al Gore, the losers who have conceded would rather preserve the peace and stability of the country by accepting the results. I go along with the spirit of sportsmanship of candidates who accepted their defeat. But that was not all there was to it.

There is a difference between what happened in the United States between George Bush and Al Gore. Gore’s graceful concession strengthened America and its institutions. As Tom Friedman of the New York Times wrote “Al Gore reinforced the system by his graceful concession; Mr. Bush will have to reinforce it by his presidency.” That was not to be and Americans learned their lesson at such a high cost.

* * *

Filipinos are expected to do the same with losers by taking it on the chin and forget that they had just gone through a grueling campaign that sometimes made us believe (erroneously in hindsight) it was only a matter of choosing candidates who were best for the country. To some it was not about candidates. The background chorus was about a growing resolve that it would also be the most honest with media and foreign observers keeping watch. But revelations have been pouring in that this may not have been the case.

Clean and honest elections by the new automated system was hailed as fool-proof against cheating. In the run up to May 10, it was said that any attempt to cheat would be blamed on the Arroyo administration. The basic reason for holding an election — to choose the best man or woman who would bring change was sidestepped. It was a shot at the heart of the nation.

When the precincts closed at 7 p.m. there was a sigh of relief — the elections were generally peaceful with only pockets of violence. The usual media outlets hailed the victory of automation against cheating because these were released to the public quickly. Not so fast. When the morning after came, some of the candidates and there lawyers were in shock and disbelief at the figures.

Some of those who complained were Erap who allegedly lost in San Juan and Bayani Fernando in Marikina. These numbers were unbelievable even if they came from the machines. They are not complaining about having lost. But you can’t blame them if they would like to know how they could have lost in their own bailiwicks. At this writing, there are teams of lawyers closely combing through the ballots and scrutinizing the system installed by Smartmatic. According to reliable sources, they are looking into why there were no media or civil society groups or party representatives who were present during the three days when the memory cards were reconfigured.

Various losing candidates are investigating to know just why and how it happened. Nicanor Perlas, Sen. Jamby Madrigal and J.C. de los Reyes may be the tail-enders but they are doing a great public service by leading the call for an investigation on just what went on with the machines with results that seemed to have been programmed rather than an accurate quick count. Only then would they concede.

As far as they are concerned the elections are not over until the last vote has been counted and audited. That is what Senator Mar Roxas said who is in a bitter fight against long time Makati mayor Jejomar Binay for the vice presidency.

Manoling Morato has come out on television that he was amazed when the PPCRV released the same percentages at 8.30 and again at 11.30 when more tallies had come in. There was not an iota of change on all four leading candidates. He said “It seemed that the percentages had been pre-set, as programmed.” Incidentally, they do not differ from the surveys. Even ANC anchors were surprised when despite the automation the PPCRV went ahead of the Comelec in tallying the votes. I heard one say, it seemed the roles were reversed. It was expected that Comelec and PPCRV would be doing parallel counts. The mounting criticisms and investigations may reveal that the automation may not have been fool-proof after all.

* * *

08 May 2010

Pedrosa article re Noynoy censored by PhilStar

This article of Carmen N. Pedrosa was intended for publication on the 08 May 2010 issue of the Philippine Star. Unfortunately, it was censored out. Even if you do not agree with the views of the writer, you will have to agree that the non-publication was a clear instance of abuse of media power in gross violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression. Dodong aka Ka Kiko

From: carmen pedrosa
Date: Sat, May 8, 2010 at 8:58 AM
Subject: column not printed today
May 8, 2010 (Saturday) Carmen N. Pedrosa

The machines that will fail; letters from Boston

It is not as if it is being said for the first time. I repeat what others have said that failure of election will not come from the PCOS but from two other machines - FV (Filipino voter) and FC (Filipino candidates).

The machines are so out of date, they cannot function properly for the selection of leaders for our country. The FV is out of sync and performs as if it has nothing to do with why he is voting a particular FC. The FC operates within this flaw and produces results with nothing to do with FV.

That in brief is the problem we face when the results are known after May 10. When disaster strikes and the country malfunctions (with candidates declaring beforehand that they will not accept defeat) let us put the blame on those who refused to accept that the machines are not and cannot work unless these are fixed.

*       *       *
Among those I turned to in my quest for information that would help voters choose a qualified candidate to be our president is another family friend of both the Aquinos and the Agulars. They formed a tightly knit Filipino community in Boston. Let us just call him Jim because, he, too like so many others who have something to say about Noynoy as unfit to be president of the Philippines does not want to expose himself.
*       *       *
Dear Ms. Pedrosa

Just when I think of giving up on RP...because it doesn't want to be helped...I meet someone of your high stature---who is into saving RP (from dud leaders?). I am naturally encouraged again.

To go into your inquiry, I am sorry to tell you that I do not have any medical information about Noynoy.

Seriously, I don't hope to go into that route. I have always relied on my own personal observation and inference in evaluating a person, and that is how I form my idea of someone who should not even think of being president.

I'm sorry to sound preachy, but I think it is time for us Filipinos to discern that way about candidates who simply "like" public positions, but which are out of their aptitude.

The Agulars and I stayed together everyday of my trip there leading to the Upsilon reunion at the Manila Polo Club. Steve and I belong to that Batch. And to his widow and son's family, it was a sentimental reunion with "Steve's brods."

To this day, we are each other's extended families, as when we both lived in Massachusetts.

Personally, I think the Agulars, (especially the late Dr. S. Agular), are apolitical. But they are very loyal to family friends. The Aquinos are one.

In politics, I am more loyal to RP ( the Republic of the Philippines. That's why Gordon is my candidate. I wish to read more of your regular columns. I think we have many sensible things in common about what is good for RP.

This letter was followed by another.

Thank you for this attention…tho' undeserved... but I would rather not be another 'witness to corroborate' the imperfections of Noynoy. I believe we have enough evidence in the open to convince a nation that Noynoy should best be left to himself...not running for president...and certainly not be used---not by his sisters, not by his relatives, and not fussed about by the media.

Unfortunately, the RP media abetted this yet another political aberration. It's our culture and our habit to promote the bizarre and the incompetent, e.g. Erap, Lapid, Revilla, etc.

We prefer to be entertained, it seems that way. And this might sell newspapers, but it carries no responsibility.

I could not believe, for instance, the headlines that came out from both The Philippine Inquirer and the Philippine Star newspapers. They actually hailed the dramatic internal struggle of Noynoy to make a decision for the 'big plum.' Is there a movie about this heir cashing in on a huge political inheritance?

That's right...the media played a big part in making a Noynoy attractive to the millions of impressionable voters.  Of course, it's not lost in me that we (you & I?) might be that child yelling to the crowd that the king is shriveled in the head, and has no clothes.

But we have to look back some 30 years ago. How much can we rely on Pinoy "kantiyaw" humor...things said in anecdotal bantering of a small party of friends?

In MA then, I remember asking why ... "itong anak ni Ninoy ang layo kung sumagot."(not in the presence of Ninoy, of course.)

And the answer I got was: ..."kasi may kulang." ...which was consistent with what I thought was a missing bolt in his head. (never occurred to me that he would run for president, let alone his mother, Cory!...years after. Cory, I think, was a disaster for RP.)

Thirty years since...I repeated the incident, and the answer I got was: "ikaw naman...! 'di naman gano'n ang ibig sabihin ng "kulang".

And what did it mean? The explanation was that...he was "kulang sa pansin ng tatay"....because all the attention was given to the (spoiled) youngest, Kris. And this, supposedly, had a big impact on the "kid."

I see...but not quite. I may get into EXPLANATIONS, but still this is not the DISCUSSION I want to get into with my friends. So I left this matter to rest. Besides, it is a 30 year-old personal observation of a "kid". Times have changed. I'm often chided. Even some people are able to get out of cancer, so I'm reminded.

Today, I am further reassured, "Have you heard Noynoy speak lately? He KNOWS how to speak in public now."

And is this why 'that kid' is urged to run for president?!?

*       *       * 
These letters reinforce the opinion that the validity of a psychiatric report on a person’s ability to lead does not rest on whether the report was signed. Indeed the report can be true even without a signature.

What is necessary is that what it reports can be verified through other means. It is not the signature that makes the report. Experts arrive at their conclusions by observation, asking questions and then evaluating their observations through the prism of knowledge through textbooks and experience. Ordinary people can do the same without having formal expertise.

Reports do not become bogus for a lack of signature. The details of the report have been reported widely and interpreted by its readers according to what they hear, what they see, and make their own profile of the person concerned.

06 May 2010

Surveys as pre-election cheating?

There's now a surge to put Gibo in Malacañang!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) Updated May 07, 2010 12:00 AM

Yesterday we featured the Smart/Philippine STAR survey that shows Gibo and Noynoy Aquino are in a virtual tie in almost all issues and that survey only proves to one and all that the SWS & Pulse Asia surveys were manipulated. This story came out in the left front page of The Philippine STAR last Thursday entitled, “Noynoy kin, allies, behind Pulse, SWS’. Proof of the pudding is the Smart/Philippine STAR surveys that Gibo isn’t ranking only a single-digit as what SWS and Pulse Asia was selling to us.

It is also fact that this week alone, GIBO has suddenly experienced a last minute surge obviously coming from the silent majority or the undecided voters who took the slogan “Kaming Walang Kibo; Ay para kay Gibo!” Again proof of this comes from an email sent to me yesterday.

“Sir for the past days I have been trying to gauge voters’ sentiments in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to gauge if Gibo could really be a “Dark Horse” candidate. It appears there is a steady surge of support for Gilbert Theodoro’s candidacy. Proof to this is the fact that GIbo’s official fan page grew from 260,000 fans to around 330,000 in less than 24 hours. I wanted to ask you if you notice a similar welling of support in the form of reactions to your column. Thanks. RB Osorio, 4th year student BS International Relations major in Diplomacy Lyceum of the Philippines U.”

Mr. Osorio, truth to tell, my Facebook and my emails have been deluged with letters thanking me for enlightening our readers on the truth about Gibo Teodoro. Although I did get a few nasty ones, who tell me that I’m a liar, a braggart and yes, some even asking me how much is Gibo paying me for the columns we write. All I can say to these people who deals on hatred is, “God forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” But this is part of my neighborhood being a columnist. These people do not even know that I am based in Cebu. But if I’m getting less than 1 percent nasty letters, then there must be something good that I am doing. 

Again for our final plea… especially to those who are undecided at this time that they shouldn’t be fooled into believing that yarn that a vote for Gibo is a vote for Manny Villar. This idiocy has been debunked by the Smart/Philippine STAR survey. Hence a vote for Gibo is a vote for Gibo!

04 May 2010

Cardinal hits call for people power

Rosales reacts to Aquino’s warning of poll fraud

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:36:00 05/03/2010

MANILA, Philippines—A senior church prelate Sunday said that warnings of another “people power” outburst if next week’s elections were marred by massive fraud were “crazy (and) irresponsible” and the conditions that produced the 1986 popular revolt were not present now.

“The laws are not done in the streets,” Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said in a talk with reporters, adding that the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos was “an extraordinary situation.”

“You don’t do that again. That’s why we have the laws now,” he added.

Rosales made the statement when asked by a reporter to comment on a statement by Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III that people might again take to the streets if he were cheated of victory in the presidential election.

Rosales said he had not heard anyone make that statement but that he disagreed with such sentiments.

“I did not hear that but if anyone said that, that is (an) irresponsible statement,” he said.

People are sovereign

Aquino, the front-runner in surveys conducted by the polling outfits Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, was quoted in a media report as saying during a campaign sortie in Pangasinan province that “sovereignty resides in the people.”

“If they feel their will has been thwarted, I’m sure they will again regain sovereignty among themselves,” he said.

The same report quoted Aquino as saying that “it’s premature to call for people power.”

An ABS-CBN report last week quoted dissident Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon as saying that if politicians manipulated the results of the elections, “the people will come out … We have no choice but people power.”

Asked for clarification of Aquino’s position, his spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told the Inquirer by phone Sunday: “If it is clear that he lost because he was cheated, or through failure of elections, then that (people power) is an option that he will take.”

“If he lost in an honest, clean and orderly elections, then he will abide by the results,” Lacierda added.

‘Let’s use our head’

Rosales said that if there was a basis to call for people power, he was not averse to it, but he indicated that he saw no reason to call for any mass movement now.

He said the situation in 1986, when Filipinos turned out in massive numbers to oust Marcos, was different from the current situation.

“Why inject that, why infuse that into the present situation?” Rosales said.

“Remember, at that time there was a dictator and the dictator was there with no real credible election, only referendum, and it was (for) as long as 20 years. Good heavens. Do you repeat that? No, come on, let’s use our head. These are two different things.”

Rosales said that anybody in the place of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who called on Filipinos to support the military rebels against Marcos in 1986, would have to do what he did.

But Rosales said that at the time, there were “unimaginable things,” such as there having been no credible elections for 20 years.

“Come on, come on, that’s just crazy, crazy, crazy,” he said. “These are two different things. That’s why whoever said that, that’s a little different. Whoever said that, I have never heard him, but [that] kind of thinking is irresponsible thinking.”

‘No, for heaven’s sake’

Asked if he would call for people power if the elections would not be credible, Rosales said he would not since there were legal recourses that people could take.

“No. For heaven’s sake, there is the Constitution. All these are covered by provisions of the Constitution. If there are complaints, credible, you go to the Comelec, you go (to) Congress, because you still have that,” he said.

Rosales lamented that Filipinos were always in a hurry, which was why, he said, they had failed to develop into a better people and tended to call for people power easily.

“We are always in a hurry,” he said. “We forget to grow in citizenship and to develop a real credible nation. To reach a stage where we mature as a nation and also [as a] people will take time.” With a report from Philip Tubeza

28 April 2010

Yellow Revolution 2

Why we should not take surveys seriously
POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr.
(The Philippine Star)
Updated April 29, 2010 12:00 AM

SURE WINNER?: Concern was expressed by a number of readers reacting to our Postscript of April 25 calling attention to propaganda that the only way Candidate X (Noynoy Aquino) who thinks he is a sure winner, to lose is for him to be cheated.

This explains why Candidate X (Noynoy Aquino) has been priming the public for taking to the streets —in a clumsy rerun of EDSA 1986 — to grab back the victory that he claims will be snatched from him.

He was leaning heavily on the reports of survey firms claiming to have interviewed some 2,000 individuals on their presidential preferences.

I was pleasantly surprised to find with the email in my inbox a note from Celia Laurel, the widow of the late Vice President Doy Laurel. She must have been so aggravated by the propaganda that she took time to write.

* * *

SABI NI CELIA: “I was reminded of the 1949 presidential elections, when it was widely perceived that Jose P. Laurel was cheated. Furious Batangueños led by leaders like Col. Poling Valeriano and Francisco Medrano wanted to start a revolt in protest.

“But Dr. Laurel calmed them down saying ‘The presidency is not worth a revolution. — I don’t want to go down in history as the man who plunged the country into a bloody revolution that turned it into a banana republic.’

“At a more recent occasion — the EDSA Revolution to be precise — it is said that when Gen. Fabian Ver begged President Marcos to allow him to fire at the mammoth crowd that had congregated on EDSA, Marcos vehemently objected to the plan and forbade Ver to take any drastic action that would hurt the people even if they were rallying against him and could unseat him.

“Both leaders showed nobility of character and a true and selfless love of country.

“Today things are quite the opposite. As you said: ‘The line being developed is that Candidate X is a sure winner by all indications, including surveys. The only way he can lose is if he is cheated. When cheated, people should take to the streets to claim the victory snatched from him.’

“We are warned that ‘People Power’ would take place.

“As you wrote, ‘this is dangerous and irresponsible.’ Indeed it is! It is obvious they don’t care what happens to our people as long as they have their way.

“EDSA I was a brief shining moment in our history. It was hailed and marveled at throughout the world because it was an uncanny spiritual experience — a revolution — achieved through peace, goodwill and prayers. It was a moment that should always live in our hearts.

“But is ‘People Power 2010’ intended to be peaceful as well? Or is it a dismal foreboding that we shall witness a grim reenactment of the carnage that took place in the Mendiola and Dona Luisita massacres IF we don’t make Candidate X (Noynoy Aquino) win?”

12 January 2010

The Present as History: A Narration and Interpretation of Events

By Gonzalo M. Jurado, Ph.D.

The Landscape

Remember the “Hello Garci” Tapes and the hysteria they created that threatened to rend the national society apart? That was June 2005.

The events unleashed in those days by the playing of the tapes which indicated a woman, said to be President Arroyo, and a man, said to be Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, talking about numerical details of the presidential election sparked the resignation of the so-called Hyatt 10 and their demand for the President’s own resignation. These officials, some of them of Cabinet rank, were joined by a wide band of political and business groups and individuals including a Liberal Party Faction, the United Opposition, the Makati Business Club, and former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senators Aquilino Pimentel and Panfilo Lacson, all demanding not just the President’s immediate resignation but her impeachment as well.

A few weeks earlier, Sen. Jingoy Estrada had announced on the floor of the Senate, with absolute certainty, that Mrs Arroyo’s days in the presidency “were numbered.”

The bulk of the media, broadsheet and television, raised the clamor for the President’s resignation or impeachment to hysterical pitch.

Only the intervention of former President Fidel V. Ramos, Speaker Jose de Venecia, and members of Leagues of Local Government Units, who individually and collectively affirmed their support for the President, saved the day for GMA.

As events unfolded, somebody had wiretapped the President in violation of the law against wiretapping. It was said that a member of the Armed Forces, T Sgt Vidal Doble, did it. After investigating the matter, Armed Forces Headquarters concluded that the armed services did not have the technical capability to do that kind of job.

Further, the adverse information about the workings of the Philippine Government that served as cannon fodder for the political opposition had been delivered to them directly by a Philippine-born US marine working in the White House by the name of Leandro Aragoncillo and, in some cases, indirectly through a former assistant of Senator Lacson, Michael Ray Aquino, who had fled to the United States to escape indictment in connection with the Dacer-Corbito murder case. The material had been prepared by the US Embassy in Manila.

In the days that followed, Garcillano, who had gone into hiding, surfaced and appeared before a House of Representatives investigating committee, admitting that he indeed had talked to politicians – to the President once and to others including members of the opposition many times. In response, Congressman Francis Escudero admitted that he had talked to Garcillano during the election period not for himself but on behalf of a constituent. In addition, Congressmen Escudero and Rolex Suplico acknowledged that one day during this period of political turmoil they had visited the US Embassy.


Even before the tumult had died down and continuing to this day, many observers of the national scene have been asking such questions as:

(1) Could the political and economic forces that got together on that day of June 2005 to unanimously demand the resignation or impeachment of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have come together by accident or where they organized and coordinated by an Unseen Hand? The diversity of the anti-GMA forces on the one hand and the uniformity of their demand and timing of their actions on the other seem to rule out spontaneous combustion.

(2) How could Leandro Aragoncillo, a US marine whose financial future was assured, or any sensible human being for that matter, have been so short-sighted and so reckless as to jeopardize his lifetime security by violating his government’s State Secrecy Act through delivery of information to anti-government politicians in a foreign land, who were not even in power?

(3) How explain the breadth and depth of the vilification campaign against the President, mobilizing not just the opposition politicians and the anti-Gloria newspapers and television stations but also a business club, an opinion survey entity, leftists groups, and even a few academics acknowledged for their principled championship of nationalist anti-imperialist causes?


To find an answer to these questions, one has to go back to Angelo dela Cruz (remember him?), the OFW captured by Iraqi militants and threatened to be beheaded if the Philippine contingent in Iraq was not withdrawn. The Philippines had earlier joined George W. Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing” and sent a small contingent to Iraq. Facing an issue of political commitment versus human life, GMA opted for the latter, withdrawing the Philippine contingent to save the life of Angelo dela Cruz. That was July 2004.

This is where the dog is buried. George W. Bush was “dismayed” by the withdrawal. Thereupon, the Bush Administration through its Central Intelligence Agency launched what can be called the Aragoncillo Project, a program of destabilization and vilification aimed at the overthrow of the Arroyo government, mobilizing as its tools everybody in the Philippines that had an axe to grind against GMA.

Was the gathering of the motley group of politicians and businessmen, rightists and leftists, on that day in June 2005 accidental? Who could have done so efficient an orchestration? Was Aragoncillo reckless? Now we know.

It was at about this time that the US government appointed Ambassador to the Philippines – hold your breath -- a former CIA agent. Not long after her arrival, the Ambassador called on President Arroyo and Senate President Drilon on separate occasions. Press statements from the US Embassy released after each visit indicated, when compared, that the Ambassador spent time with the President that was less than one-half that spent with the Senate President. This is standard CIA way of degrading anyone that does not meet its approval.

Thenceforward, with diplomatic niceties out of the way, the Ambassador wasted no time in travelling on sorties to far-flung communities of her country of assignment, distributing goods to poverty-stricken groups, delivering little speeches to rural crowds. These were no innocent acts of charity as the media made them out to be. These were authentic CIA tactics of political interference – in this instance designed to alienate the Philippine government under President Arroyo from its constituencies.

George W. Bush himself made a personal contribution to the destabilization campaign. On meeting GMA in the halls of the United Nations in New York in September 2005, he made big water of the employment of a Filipina chef in the White House when he could easily have referred to somewhat less trivial state-related matters. If the world did not notice the insult, it was because GMA overshadowed it by her masterful chairmanship of a United Nations General Assembly Meeting at that time.

In July 2007, Aragoncillo was meted by a US federal court a 10-year sentence for stealing and passing on secret US documents. In the Philippines we call this moro-moro. Michael Ray Aquino was sentenced to six years and four months in prison, too harsh a sentence for a forced accomplice.

More recently, the failure of President Barack Obama to receive GMA on several occasions, explained by Washington people as arising from his heavy schedules, was a deliberate snub intended to remind GMA – and the Philippines-- that Uncle Sam remains profoundly displeased over the Philippine government’s failure to stand by the US in Iraq.

And so the destabilization and vilification campaign against GMA rages on, carried out by politicians, businessmen, newspapers and television stations, an opinion survey firm, individuals from left and right, some academics, all of them associating every conceivable wrong-doing with the President. The US ambassador’s political interference continues unabated.

A Comment

It’s been five and a half years since the redemption of Angelo de la Cruz, what conclusion can we derive from the events that transpired over that period of time? Two conclusions. The first is that the destabilization and vilification campaign has succeeded in projecting the President as guilty of all charges of wrong doing, alienating the President from many of her people, as gleefully chronicled by an opinion survey firm day after day. Though a case can be made that GMA is one of our better presidents, some people are convinced she is the worst. In terms of its over-arching objective of toppling the Arroyo government, however, the destabilization and vilification campaign has miserably failed. There are reasons for this.

One, the campaign lacked popular support, Remember the hundreds of thousands of people that the United Opposition promised to bring into Makati to protest GMA’s mandate that never came? Or former President Corazon Aquino’s attempt to rouse another People Power, through a prayer vigil supporting some Fort Bonifacio mutineers, that people simply ignored? Or Sen. Pimentel’s repetitious call for snap elections that fell on deaf ears? Remember how the sidewalk crowds of Makati disdainfully turned their noses up to the Peninsula putschists when these tried to entice the crowds to join them, exposing these putschists’ isolation from the public?

Two, the political opposition, as excellent as it was in its brand of Parliamentary practice, suffered from what can be called litigational infirmity, the lack of ability to back up allegation with evidence or proof. As a consequence, whatever issue it raised, many reasonable people dismissed as plain politicking. The continuous carping, however, did produce a good result for some of the critics: it got them elected to the Senate.

This technical incompetence must be supplemented by the physical cowardice of the military ringleaders who identified themselves with the destabilization effort. Their pathetic surrender at the Peninsula even before a single APC could enter the hotel lobby reduced the whole destabilization program to a comical and ridiculous enterprise.

And three, the media outlets that supported the anti-Gloria crusade did so with such arrogance and self-righteousness they only succeeded in undermining their own cause. As some independent-minded observers wondered, how could these media outlets be so sanctimonious in their judgments when they were merely pushing forward their owners’ interest?

The second conclusion is that some of our leaders in politics and business and many of our opinion makers in media did not mind selling their country down the river, performing the role of stooges of a foreign power, so long as it promoted their personal ambitions. More normally functioning countries have a way of dealing with such behavior as this.

In summary, it must be galling, with Big Brother calling the shots at that, to have thrown at your opponent everything including the kitchen sink and the kitchen itself to destroy her, to have exposed your most meticulously hidden secret for the sake of overthrowing her, only to see her still standing, as strong as ever.

The President continues to preside over the affairs of our country, pushing its development as she sees fit. By all indications, she will remain in office until her term expires, on June 30, 2010.

Dr. Jurado is Vice-President for Finance and Development and concurrently Professor of Economics of Kalayaan College. In this essay he advances of recent events an interpretation that has far-reaching implications to the political sovereignty of our country.