19 December 2011

IBP: No to Impeachment; Defend the Institution

This is the Statement of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued at a press conference held at the IBP Boardroom, 3rd floor IBP Building, on 14 December 2011 regarding the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.


The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the official organization of lawyers, expresses its grave concern over the breakneck impeachment of the Chief Justice based on grounds that subvert the constitutional allocation of powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court as the final interpreter of the law and arbiter of judicial disputes as enshrined in the Constitution.

The impeachment has placed on trial not only the Chief Justice but the entire Supreme Court. The grounds invoked to impeach the Chief Justice refer to collegial decisions of the Supreme Court involving interpretations of law in actual disputes elevated for review, particularly the following:

a) The invalidation by the Supreme Court of the Executive Order creating the Truth Commission;

b) The upholding by the Supreme Court of the laws enacted by Congress and the Senate involving the creation of the province of Dinagat Island, the conversion of 16 municipalities into cities, and creation of a new congressional district in Camarines Sur;

c) The issuance by the Supreme Court of a status quo ante order in the impeachment proceedings against former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez;

d) The issuance by the Supreme Court of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Watchlist Order preventing the travel abroad of the former President under a travel authority issued by Congress for medical reasons.

In all of the cited cases, the record shows that the Chief Justice was not the ponente but merely concurred in the majority or minority opinion. Neither did the Chief Justice flip‐flop or change his position in any of these cases. The decisions were reached by the Supreme Court pursuant to its processes and subjected to reconsideration proceedings. They all involve interpretation of what the law is.

Even the two other grounds cited in the impeachment – failure to submit the SALN and account for the JDF and SAJ collections – also involve the assertion by the Supreme Court of its fiscal autonomy. Pursuant to a 1992 SC Resolution, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices are filing their SALN directly with the Clerk of Court ‐‐ and not with any other government unit ‐‐ in keeping with its independent status. It has also exercised its authority over the SAJ and JDF collections in keeping
with its fiscal autonomy, which the Commission on Audit has not disallowed.

By impeaching the Chief Justice based on decisions issued by the Supreme Court now claimed to be unconstitutional, the House is in effect arrogating unto itself the power to interpret the law over and above the Supreme Court. Such an impeachment has transformed the House of Representatives as the higher interpreter of what the law is, a clear encroachment on the prerogatives exclusively vested by the Constitution
in the Supreme Court itself.

If the exercise of judicial review by the Supreme Court to pass upon the acts of other departments of government and to interpret the applicable laws could warrant congressional impeachment – despite the absence of any allegations of financial or illegal consideration ‐‐ then the great constitutional doctrines of separation of powers and judicial supremacy on matters of interpretation of the law would completely crumble and fall apart.

While we support the reform agenda of the President, its implementation must respect – and not subvert ‐‐ the constitutional allocation of powers. Of the three branches of government, the judiciary is the weakest. It does not have the powerful sword of the President or the awesome purse of Congress. Its only weapon is the passive power of judicial review.

If that constitutional weapon is despoiled, then its effectiveness as the protective mantle against potential excesses of power by the President and Congress would be defanged and rendered inutile. If the Supreme Court is emasculated by partisan actions, to whom shall the people turn to against excesses by those who are in power? The lessons of the past should be learned.

As sentinel of freedom and democracy, the IBP considers the breakneck and high‐handed impeachment delivered by the House as a menace and an open subversion of the constitutional prerogatives of the Supreme Court as the final interpreter of the law and the arbiter of rights.

Thus, the IBP, cognizant of its institutional mandates, calls upon the stakeholders and the pillars of the justice system to rally behind and defend the Supreme Court as an institution of democracy and the Rule of Law.

National President &
Chairman of the Board

Governor for Northern Luzon

Governor for Central Luzon

Governor for Greater Manila

Governor for Southern Luzon

Governor for Bicolandia

Governor for Eastern Visayas

Governor for Western Visayas

Governor for Eastern Mindanao

Governor for Western Mindanao

16 December 2011

Wasakin ang Demokrasya

Wasakin ang Simbahan - "pajero Bishops"

Wasakin ang Militar - "pabaon Generals"

Wasakin ang Korte Suprema - "CoronArroyo"

Itatag ang Diktaturya at

Ibalik ang Hacienda Luisita!

Bakit ba yung iilan, di pa rin nai-intindihan?

Black Wednesday

30 November 2011

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, farmers victorious vs Aquino hacienda

By: Rigoberto Tiglao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:36 pm | Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

You’d have to visit Hacienda Luisita to realize how vast it is, why it’s been a symbol not only of elite rule in our country but of its hypocrisy and powers of deceit. It’s the biggest hacienda in the country, with a total area of 64.4 square kilometers—nearly as big as the cities of Manila and Makati combined.

The sugarcane fields as far as the eye can see were a marvel for me when I first visited the hacienda in 1970. It was troubling though to see emasculated sugar workers, their skin blackened by the hot Central Luzon sun, their shoulders nearly buckling under the weight of sugarcane poles, and after that to be served US steak from nearby American Clark Airfield in an air-conditioned hacienda mansion. Class exploitation, class struggle are not ideas but realities in this hacienda, I then felt.

Indeed, it was in this hacienda that the legendary guerrilla Commander Dante, as a teenage cane-cutter, decided to take up arms against the ruling class. Yet it was ironic that it was also in the hacienda that an opposition figure named Benigno Aquino Jr.—who married into the Cojuangco clan that owned the plantation—brokered a historic meeting between Dante and Maoist demagogue Jose Sison, which led to the organization of the New People’s Army. The hacienda until martial law would be a nursery and refuge for the fledgling NPA, which Aquino calculated he could utilize in his fight against Marcos.

It wasn’t Marcos who invented behest loans. The hacienda, together with the sugar refinery, was acquired from the European firm Tabacalera in 1958 by the clan led by President Aquino’s maternal grandfather Jose Cojuangco through a P12.9-million loan from the Government Service Insurance System, and through a $2.1 million-loan from the Central Bank of the Philippines. The loan’s condition though was that the hacienda’s agricultural lands would be sold to its tenants at “reasonable” costs.

Because the Cojuangcos rejected the demands made several times by the central bank and the Land Authority starting in 1967 to implement this condition, the government in 1980 filed a case in the Manila Regional Trial Court to compel them to do so. There are no tenants to distribute the land to, the Cojuangcos replied.

The case dragged on for five years until Judge Bernardo Pardo (years later the Comelec chairman and then Supreme Court justice) in December 1985 ruled that the hacienda’s lands should be distributed to the farmers. Persecution by the Marcos regime, the clan claimed, and ran to the Court of Appeals.

Two months later, the Edsa Revolution of February 1986 would save the hacienda for the Cojuangcos. In 1988 during President Cory’s term, the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Central Bank of the Philippines, and the GSIS informed the Court of Appeals that they were no longer interested in pursuing the case to require the Cojuangcos to distribute the lands to the farmers.  The Court ruled that the hacienda would instead fall under the provisions of President Aquino’s “comprehensive agrarian reform program.”

Fortunately for the Cojuangcos, that program provided for an option in which, instead of distributing the land, the landlord may issue the farmers papers called stock certificates, representing their supposed minority ownership of shares in the corporation the landlord sets up to own the hacienda.

This scheme made land reform such a farce that only 12 other much smaller haciendas dared use it.  Cory though was the saint of Philippine democracy who could do no wrong, and the defiance by her clan’s hacienda of the Constitution’s land-reform mandate receded in the public mind. Starting in the 1990s, parts of the Hacienda would be transformed into a profitable modern complex with an industrial park, a business center, a shopping mall, two hotels, and a world-class golf course.

In November 2004, after the so-called Luisita massacre in which seven striking plantation workers were killed at the picket line—and seven others murdered one by one by assassins later—the DAR, under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accelerated its investigation over a complaint by the hacienda union that the stock distribution scheme was a farce.

In December 2005, upon recommendation of the DAR, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council—a body Cory set up in 1987, made up of 15 Cabinet members and chaired by President Arroyo—ordered the hacienda’s fake land reform ended, and for the land to be distributed to the farmer-workers.

“Persecution by the Arroyo regime,” the clan then complained.

This time around though, there was no People Power uprising to overthrow the administration that went against them, so they could hold on to the hacienda. The Cojuangcos appealed to the Supreme Court. It is only six years later last week that the Court upheld the Arroyo government’s decision.

The Court’s decision could mean the clan’s bankruptcy. The Court not only ordered the Cojuangcos to immediately distribute 4,915 hectares to the haciendas’ farmer-workers. It also ordered them to pay the farmer-workers P1.33 billion, the proceeds of the sale of hacienda lands that became the industrial and business parks. Agrarian reform laws will peg “just compensation” for the clan at 1989 levels, or just about P200 million. Now I understand why they hate Chief Justice Renato Corona so much.

Arroyo’s critics claim she went against the Cojuangcos to retaliate against Cory’s participation in the July 2005 conspiracy to topple her. The counter-argument could be posed in a question: If Arroyo was overthrown in 2005, would the new DAR and a new Cabinet have ordered real land reform at the hacienda?

Now I understand why they would torment and put a former president in jail on the basis of the say-so of a lone witness implicated in the Maguindanao massacre. “Accountability” and “reckoning” have indeed taken a chilling meaning.

History repeating itself?


Out of my mind

Monday, February 27, 2006
Open Letter To Our Leaders

Dear Tita Cory, Senators, Congressmen, Businessmen, Media people, Leftists, and all Bleeding Hearts Out There:

I am angry. And I know that there are many out there who are angrier than I am for the same reason. And that reason is simple. I am sick and tired of all you guys claiming to speak for me and many Filipinos. I feel like screaming every time you mouth words about fighting for my freedom and my rights, when you obviously are just thinking about yours. You tell me that the essence of democracy is providing every citizen the right to speak his or her mind and make his or her own informed judgments, but you yourselves do not respect my silence and the choices I and many others have made. In other words, your concept of democracy is limited to having your rights and your freedoms respected, at the expense of ours.

I am utterly flabbergasted that you still do not get it: we already responded to your calls, and our response has been very clear - we chose not to heed your calls to go to EDSA or to Fort Bonifacio not because we do not love our country or our freedoms or our rights, but precisely because we love our country even more. Because quite frankly, we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward. You may think that is not correct, you can tell me all the dire warnings about the evils of authoritarian rule, but quite frankly all we see is your pathetic efforts to prop up your cause. You tell me that you are simply protecting my freedoms and my rights, but who told you to do that? I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself.

You tell us that GMA is not the right person to lead this country because she has done immoral acts. As someone who sees immorality being committed wantonly in many ways every day and by everyone (yes, including the ones you do), I may have become jaded. But you have not been able to offer me any viable alternative, while GMA has bent over backwards many times to accommodate you while continuing to work hard despite all the obstacles and the brickbats you have thrown her way. From where I sit, she is the one who has been working really hard to move this country forward while all of you have been so busy with one and only one thing: to make sure she does not succeed. So forgive me if I do not want to join you in your moral pissing contest. Forgive me if I have chosen to see things from another perspective. You say she is the problem. I say, we are the problem, more to the point, I think you are a bigger problem than she is. Taking her out may solve part of the problem, but that leaves us with a bigger problem: you. That is right, YOU!

While I felt outraged that she called a Comelec official during the elections and that she may have rigged the elections, I have since then taken the higher moral ground and forgiven her. Yes my dear bishops, I have done what you have told me to do since I was a child, which you say is the Christian and moral thing to do: forgive. Especially since she has asked for forgiveness and has tried to make amends for it. Erap certainly has not apologized and continues to be defiant, continuing to insult us everyday with his protestations. Cory has not apologized for her incompetence but we have forgiven her just the same because like GMA, she has worked hard after all.

I know you do not think that GMA's apology was not enough, or that she was insincere, or that that apology should not be the end of it, but please spare me the hypocrisy of telling me that you do so for the sake of protecting the moral fibre of society. The real reason is because you smell blood and wants to go for the kill.

Well, I have news for you. I do not like her too. I did not even vote for her. I voted for Raul Roco. But as much as I do not like her, I do not like you even more. I may not trust her, but guess what, I do not trust you even more.

You know why? Because all you do is whine and sabotage this country. You belittle every little progress we make, conveniently forgetting that it is not just GMA who has been working so hard to achieve them. Every single day, we keep the faith burning in our hearts that this country will finally pull itself out of the mess and we work so hard to do that. Every little progress is the result of our collective effort, we who toil hard everyday in our jobs. Yet, you persist in one and only thing: making GMA look bad in the eyes of the world and making sure that this country continues to suffer to prove your sorry point. In the process, you continue to destroy what we painstakinly try to built. So please do not be surprised that I do not share your cause. Do not be surprised that we have become contemptuous of your antics. You have moved heaven and earth to destroy her credibility, you have convened all kinds of fora and hearings and all you have done is test our patience to the core. For all your effort, you have only succeeded in dragging us further down. I say enough.

Don't get me wrong. I am not asking that we take immorality lying down, or that we let the President get away with anything illegal. But you have tried to prove your accusations all these time and you have not succeeded, so it is time to let things be. Besides, you are doing something immoral as well if not utterly unforgivable. The Magdalo soldiers are consorting with the communists - the same people who have been trying to kill democracy for years. Cory has been consorting with Erap and the Marcoses.

So please wake up and take a reality check. In the absence of true and genuine moral leadership, many of us have decided to cast our lot with the President, even if we do not like her. A flawed leader is better than scheming power hungry fools who can not even stand up for their convictions in the face of an impending arrest.

Your coup attempts and the denials that you have consequently made only underscore what we think is true: you are spineless and unreliable people whose only defense is to cry suppression when your ruse do not work. You are like bullies who taunt and provoke, but cry oppression when taken to task for your cruelty.

I would have respected you if you took the consequences of your actions like real heroes: calmly and responsibly instead of kicking and screaming and making lame excuses. You say you are willing to die for us, that you do all these things for the country and the Filipino, but you are not even willing to go to jail for us.

Come on, you really think we believe that you did not want to bring down the government when that is the one and only thing you have been trying to do in the last many months?

We love this country and we want peace and progress. Many among us do not give a f*&k who sits at Malacanang because we will work hard and do our share to make things work. If you only do your jobs, the ones that we elected you to do, things would be a lot simpler and easier for every one.

The events during the weekend only proved one thing. You are more dangerous and a serious threat to this country than GMA is. We have seen what you are capable of doing - you are ready to burn this country and reduce everything to ashes just to prove your point. If there is something that we need protection from, it is protection from you.

17 November 2011

Forcible Resolution of Constitutional Crisis

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State." 1987 Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 3.

"All members of the armed forces (are bound by) oath or affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution." Id, Art. XVI, Sec. 5(1).

Where the President issues unconstitutional orders defying lawful orders of the Supreme Court, the armed forces are DUTY bound to DISOBEY such unconstitutional orders.

Where the Supreme Court "requests" the armed forces to enforce its lawful orders against the unconstitutional defiance of the President, the armed forces are DUTY bound to UPHOLD the Supreme Court and defend the Constitution.

What exactly are the charges against her?

By: Rigoberto Tiglao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
9:48 pm | Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Ferdinand Marcos in 1980 allowed his archenemy Ninoy Aquino to go to Boston for a heart bypass surgery, even as the procedure had become routine since 1975 at the Philippine Heart Center. Aquino had been sentenced to death for murder and subversion after five years of trial by Military Commission No. 2, whose legality was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

The Sandiganbayan in 2004 allowed Joseph Estrada to travel to Hong Kong so that the doctor he chose could undertake a very routine procedure to correct his knee ailment.  Estrada’s plunder trial was then underway for nearly four years, with credible eye-witnesses against him such as Ilocos Gov. Chavit Singson and Clarissa Ocampo and roomfuls of documents, especially bank accounts supporting the allegations that he enriched himself in office.

In sharp contrast to these past situations, the cases against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo haven’t even reached the very first stage of trial. Yet she is barred from seeking medical attention abroad for a rare disease that couldn’t be cured after three operations.

What exactly are the charges against Arroyo, which Justice Secretary Leila de Lima claims bar her from traveling abroad?  The complainants should already raise very red warning signals as to the charges’ authenticity.  Two were filed by the party-list Bayan Muna, which is allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines whose New People’s Army suffered serious setbacks under Arroyo’s watch.  The other leftist party Akbayan calculates that the publicity in filing its own charges against Arroyo would boost the senatorial ambitions of its leaders. And there is Frank Chavez, who perhaps not so coincidentally filed his attention-getting charges when President Aquino was still looking around for a new ombudsman.

While the term “plunder,” which conjures up images of pillage, in the charges was effectively designed for media impact, it creates a fatal legal flaw.  These charges will be thrown out simply because the crime of plunder that she is accused of doesn’t have anything to do with the things she is alleged to have done.  The requirement for conviction under the Anti-Plunder Law of 1991 is that there is proof of personal material gain of over P50 million—“an asset, property, and business enterprise or material possession” amassed by the accused government official through graft.  Estrada was convicted of plunder because prosecutors uncovered his bank accounts where he kept over P500 million acquired through graft.

All the charges against Arroyo, except one that doesn’t have an iota of credibility, do not even claim that she made money out of graft.

First, the most ridiculous, filed by Chavez:  that Arroyo (together with other officials such as the unassailable Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo) transferred overseas workers’ fund to the Philippine Health Insurance System.  This “plunder” put millions of overseas Filipino workers under the umbrella of the state’s medical care system.

Second, the most futile: that government funds for fertilizers were allocated to over 500 congressmen, mayors and governors who supported Arroyo’s election bid in 2004.  But Arroyo is not charged here for amassing money from the funds.  Would any congressmen or local politician testify that he or she received illegal funds?

Third, the most unintelligent: the alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s intelligence funds. It turns out that these were allocated for such purposes as emergency operations that saved overseas Filipino workers’ lives.  Even Sen. Francis Escudero pointed out that this charge is nonsense, as there is not even an accusation of personal gain on the part of Arroyo.

Fourth, the weirdest: that P72 million in capital gains tax was not collected from the sale of the old Iloilo City airport to Megaworld.   Even Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares says that there was no capital gains tax to be collected in the first place, as it is government selling the property.

Fifth, the most media-driven: that ZTE Corp., China’s largest listed telecoms company which this year overtook Apple as the fourth biggest cell phone vendor in the world, gave Arroyo a bribe to bag a government contract.  This allegation of a bribe to Arroyo was solely made by one Dante Madriaga, who claimed he overheard it from his employer.  He however refused to sign his affidavit, which he had distributed all over cyberspace. The Senate suspected he was fabricating lies and withdrew the security it initially provided him.  Sen. Panfilo Lacson disclosed that Madriaga initially asked him P10 million for his false testimony.

And sixth, the most sycophantic charge:  De Lima’s own 2007 poll fraud allegation, her “compliance” move to Mr. Aquino’s announcement that his administration would file charges against Arroyo by this month. But her main witnesses are the likes of Zaldy Ampatuan and the clan’s underboss Norie Unas, who are facing or will face charges for the Maguindanao massacre.  Their motives—obviously to save their own skins—are so suspect that any principled judge would strike out their testimonies.

It is because of these ridiculous, futile, unintelligent, weird, media-driven and sycophantic charges that a former president is being barred from seeking medical aid abroad that could save her life.

And we haven’t even discussed the unconstitutionality of barring a citizen from traveling abroad without a court order, as constitutional expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., explained in a column in this paper.  We are seeing the eclipse of reason and justice under this administration.

If De Lima’s order is intended for her senatorial ambitions, she has made a big blunder.  Filipinos will not take kindly her callousness over the suffering of a former president, just because of her unprincipled servility to an equally hard-hearted boss.

E-mail for comments: tiglao.inquirer@gmail.com

30 September 2011

WikiLeaks: Making Sense of Current Events*

By Gonzalo M. Jurado, PhD**


WikiLeaks has been occupying the front pages of newspapers and the primetime programs of television channels lately, revealing confidential US diplomatic cables that allege various forms of wrongdoings or misdemeanors by our national leaders -- loss of iconic stature by Corazon Aquino because of alliance with Joseph Estrada, receipt of campaign money from Khaddafy by Fidel Ramos, indifference of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to her husband’s illegal activities, diffidence and unassertiveness by Benigno Aquino III, intellectual or moral deficiency of one sort or another by Jose de Venecia, Hermogenes Abdane, etcetera. We’ve heard of these things before but their filtering through US intelligence channels seems to give them novelty and credibility.

Under this deluge of information, politicians are confirmed in their beliefs that their political adversaries are indeed as lowly as they have made them out to be. Newspaper editors and columnists and TV newscasters and commentators are edified in their convictions that their biases against their perceived opponents are well founded. The Senate is going to investigate. The rest of the public is simply overwhelmed, wondering what is going on.

What indeed is going on? Who or what is WikiLeaks? How can WikiLeaks gain access to 251,000 top secret documents from the files of the most efficient of the US Government’s intelligence agencies? Do these documents undermine US national security? Is the US Government too weak to stop WikiLeaks? Who is responsible for the leakage? Finally, how are we, Filipinos, to react to this large-scale information overload that is making us objects of international derision?

To answer these questions, we have to go back to facts of current events.


For a beginning, we must remind ourselves that when matters of “national security” are involved, “intelligence” that is to say, espionage, is involved. This is saying that unless we place the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the center of the analysis we will never be able to unravel the drama unfolding before our eyes. As everybody knows, the CIA is the espionage agency of the United States Government, authorized by US Law to carry out any act outside the US mainland deemed necessary to the security of the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for domestic security. Many Americans find the CIA repugnant but they are constrained to just ignore it since it is working in their strategic interest anyway.

Now, the purpose of intelligence is to gather information about the enemy, his strengths and weaknesses, to be able to design and implement appropriate measures for dealing with him. In the pursuit of this objective, no resource is spared, no course of action is taboo, no item is left out of the agenda. .

The United States is a Power on the wane. The decline is threatening to be precipitous. As experts are telling us, the US as an economy will be surpassed by China in 2015, four years from today. Right now, the US is in the midst of a recession. Some 9 percent of its work force is unemployed, the incomes of major segments of its population are down if not exhausted, factories are closing down, families are losing their homes, the Government is approaching financial bankruptcy. Only recently, the US was downgraded as an investment haven by a credit rating agency. Other indicators suggest that it is racing against itself to the bottom.

If it is not winning friends among its own people, the US Government is alienating many peoples in the rest of the world. Far from being a dedicated champion of democracy, it is seen as a duplicitous supporter of political dictatorships so long as those dictatorships are subservient to American wishes, a coddler of “sons of bitches” so long as those SOBs are its SOBs. Far from being an unselfish benefactor, the US Government is seen as an insatiable imperialist, never ceasing to machinate until it has taken possession of the enemy’s oil, minerals, and other resources.

Comes now the CIA. What better way to deflect attention away from the deteriorating American political economy than to focus it to the deficiencies or excesses of the rest of the world? Isn’t offense the best defense? Who is best suited to carry out this policy than the US Government’s own officials themselves? .

Consider US President Barack Obama. President Obama stands accused of being a CIA creation. It is said that his Kenyan father was supported in his education by the CIA in order to co-opt him away from the African nationalist movement, his mother was a certified CIA operative who managed CIA funded activities in Indonesia under protection of the US Embassy in Jakarta, his maternal grandfather was the original dyed-in-the-wool intelligence agent stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. Despite tremendous pressure he has refused to reveal his transcript of records and is said to have ordered destroyed every shred of material pertaining to him soon after assuming the Presidency. . What is known of his academic record is intriguing. After admission to Occidental College in Los Angeles, he transferred to Columbia in New York from where he graduated with a degree in Political Science, without honors, meaning that his Grade Point Average (GPA) was less than 3.3. Years later, at Harvard Law School, he became one of 85-90 students who were named editors of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude,

There is profound skepticism. How can a student with average intelligence be admitted into a high standard prestigious institution like Harvard unless there has been pressure from higher authority? How can a student who had never written a word of legal opinion ever become an editor of the Harvard Law Review unless academic standards have been suspended as in an act of political accommodation?

Despite the seriousness of these doubts, no word has been heard from President Obama, nor from the US Federal Government for that matter.. In a recent effort to respond to queries about his childhood, the White House produced a birth certificate that only confounded matters, giving rise to questions as to his nationality, among others..

In the meanwhile, President Obama continues to beguile his American audiences with promises of “change (they) can believe in.” and the rest of the world with visions of free and democratic development.

Coming closer to home, think of former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney. By acknowledgment of the US Embassy itself, this lady was a former CIA agent. One of her first acts on arrival in the Philippines was to travel up and down the country and distribute goodies to folk here and there and give small talks on democratic governance to audiences that bothered to listen. Our media described her as a fairy godmother exuding grace and generosity to all and sundry. In fact, she was a hard-working little mole quietly carrying out acts of political interference and destabilization. Now WikiLeaks is presenting us with secret cables emanating from Ms Kenney where she mocks just about every Philippine public official she came in contact with. Even boxing icon Manny Pacquiao could not escape her attention. Rumors linking him to a movie actress have been dutifully reported to headquarters.. .

In another front, as it is now turning out, while gossip-mongering was occurring in Manila, taking place in Mindanao was brazen US political intervention, to dismember our country through the creation of a so-called ancestral domain (Bangsamoro Juridical Entity) or sub-state for separatist rebels, just to be able to gain a foothold in our country.

Consider now WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks first came to our attention in 2010 when it was identified as an international whistleblower responsible for leaking to the whole world the contents of US secret documents. WikiLeaks was established in 2006 by Julian Assange, an Australian national, publisher, journalist, computer programmer, residing in the United Kingdom.. Soon after establishing WikiLeaks, he was accused by two women in Sweden of sexual molestation as a result of which the Swedish Government .sought his extradition from UK. He is currently on trial in London’s High Court, but on temporary liberty on a bail of L241,000. At the same time, he is reported to be under threat of capture and arrest by agents of the US Government. .
But now again additional information is surfacing. Independent political analysts are telling us that WikiLeaks is a CIA front organization, receiving financial support from the Israeli Mossad and George Soros. That explains why Mr Assange is unfazed by all accusations, and is at the moment unobstrusively enjoying his little pleasures and delights.

In the meanwhile, the US Government has identified the leaker. It is none other than Bradley Manning, age 23, a foot soldier, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 10th Mountain Division of the US Armed Forces in Iraq. As analyst it is said that he had access to hundreds of thousands of classified documents.


So who or what is WikiLeaks? Is the US Government too weak to stop it? Of course not. The US Government is not stopping WikiLeaks not because of an unswerving commitment to freedom of information, transparency, etc. but simply because WikiLeaks is its own baby, its officially authorized institutionally designated promotional outlet.

Is US national security under threat by all this leakage?. After a .careful review of newspaper accounts and TV broadcasts, we find that these documents contain nothing but cheap gossip, innuendoes, unsubstantiated hearsay, all portraying our leaders as intellectually mediocre, morally bankrupt, hypocrites ready to betray their peoples if the price is right. Far from being undermined by this leakage US national security is strengthened, with US leaders, ambassadors and their staffs, coming out of the leaked material as paragons of high intelligence and impeccable morality, patiently listening but never consenting to the perfidies, actual and imagined, offered by little locals

What about Bradley Manning? Even the CIA understands that attributing the leakage of thousands of secret documents at the highest level to a foot soldier sitting at the bottom of the military pyramid has to make the world laugh. As Manning himself will say, tell that to the marines. In the meanwhile, let’s follow-up what the CIA – of course representing the US Government – will do to this poor little patsy.

But does the CIA have a choice? Pinning the responsibility to the high and mighty—to Secretary Looney, General Pesky, or Admiral Toadie -- to make the whole sorry exercise more credible, can be risky. The high and mighty have the capacity to fight back and they can tell the whole world what the drama is all about.

Coming now to the mother of all questions -- why is this leakage happening? Answer: what leakage? There is no leakage at all. This is a calculated, deliberate, and controlled release of information – for the purpose of diverting attention away from the travails of a Super Power on the decline. Much like the lashing out to all directions of a doomed creature hysterically trying to save itself from the cataclysm of fire or water.


How are we to react to all of this? First of all let us put things in perspective. The United States is our friend – the source of many benefits to us at the material and non-material planes – official development assistance (ODA), rice and other commodities under PL 480, military hardware, scholarships to the most gifted amongst us.. The least we can do is to acknowledge these benefits with appreciation.

Further, the US, in doing what it is doing, is merely trying to promote and protect its interests at home and abroad. Just like any other nation on planet Earth it is entitled to do so. We should not begrudge the US in the pursuit of this entitlement.

However, and this is the main point, let us make it clear to one and all that we have our own national interest to promote and protect. In our efforts toward that end we brook no interference from any external source.

It is true that these so-called leaks are nothing but cheap gossip and ill-informed opinion which, as Senator Honasan is quoted as saying, we should not read too much from. Still, they are there and they are riling us.

Already, some politicians and media people are using them as jumping boards to vilify their opponents. Even the Senate, whose reputation for independent judgment remains intact despite attempts of partisan interests to undermine it, is going to investigate. Ladies and gentlemen, let us not provide confirmation of the worst things our so-called friends think of us.

The morality of some of our leaders is not as white as driven snow and we know it. Let us pursue our cases against them in our courts of law with sincerity and determination. In this we need no prodding. We act on our own initiative.

Responding now to this adverse US propaganda, let us first of all set up and strengthen an Intelligence Gathering Apparatus of our own and aim it specifically at the United States Government and its representatives. For our first effort, let us establish the identity of President Obama -- is he or is he not an intelligence agent? We need this information to better enable us to decipher US statements, decisions, and actions – for their truth or falsity, as the case may be. In the same spirit, let us put the US Embassy and its personnel under surveillance.. Let us monitor the incomings and outgoings of people in that embassy. Let us vet Ambassador Harry Thomas and his staff so that we will know how to put them in their proper places. With respect to US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, let us expose her hypocritical efforts at damage control. (She is now in Thailand, the ambassador of her country, but the Thais will be much too smart to be taken in by posturings of perpetual friendship and boundless benevolence.)

Let us at the same time re-orient our Foreign Affairs Department, give it an ability to be skeptical of US pronouncements and, more than that, to be ready to give any hidden enemy a dose of its own medicine.

Let us anticipate that many more “leakages” of this type will take place in the future and that these leakages will be more vicious if we respond in the manner as outlined above.

Unsolicited advice to media: If you must print or broadcast future leaks please do so not on page one or on primetime but in the comics section or at entertainment period. .

It is a fact that some of us love the United States more than they do the Philippines and they will brand this idea as anti-American if not outright communist. So be it. Let these fellow citizens shed tears of joy when they hear Stars and Stripes Forever, but let us all know where our first loyalty lies.

Let us not play the fool of American propaganda.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.


* Most of the facts used in this review come from the Wikipedia of the several topics discussed.

**Currently professor of economics and vice-president for finance and development, Kalayaan College. Formerly professor of economics, University of the Philippines: lecturer, United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo; and consultant, Asian Development Bank in Manila.

Quezon City
12 September 2011

01 August 2011

The Myth of Yellow Infallibility

1. Imeldific jewelry.- When Marcos went into exile, did Cory Aquino's relatives and friends take from Malacañang seven (7) suitcases of Imelda's jewelry to be deposited in a doctor's house in Dasmariñas Village, Makati? Did only three (3) suitcases later surface to be deposited with the central bank? Did a relative of Cory Aquino commute between the Philippines and Hong Kong to have the Imeldific jewelries reset by a Hong Kong Milton Hotel jeweler to change their appearance? Didn't Cory Aquino admit on public TV that an Imeldific necklace ended up with her daughter Ballsy, but she supposedly told her to return it to Joker Arroyo? Didn't Joker Arroyo later say on TV that he doesn't remember Ballsy returning to him a necklace?


2. Romualdez companies.- Did Cory Aquino permit, during her first month in office, the transfer of the 38 companies owned by Marcos's brother-in-law, Kokoy Romualdez, to Aquino's own brother-in-law, Ricardo "Baby" Lopa? Weren't the assets of the Marcoses and the Romualdezes supposed to be sequestered by the new Aquino administration? Why were Kokoy Romualdez's 38 companies, worth billions of pesos, not turned over to the PCGG? How did Aquino come to decide by herself the questioned ownership of the companies without resorting to the Sandiganbayan?


Was Amalgamated Motors, which had a license to import British vehicles, among those taken over, and then later used to import Simba armored vehicles for the Armed Forces in 1992? Didn't the Army actually prefer the US V-150 over the British Simba?



3. PLDT.- Did Cory Aquino order the transfer of the billion-dollar Philippine Long Distance Company, then controlled by the Marcoses, to her own Cojuangco nephews she claimed were illegally eased out by Marcos? If the controlling shares were ill-gotten, weren't they supposed to be sequestered by PCGG? Again how did Aquino come to decide on the ownership of the shares by herself without resorting to the Sandiganbayan?


4. PAL.- Did Cory Aquino approve in January 1992 the sale by GSIS of 67% of the stocks of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) to an investment group headed by one of her Tanjuatco, and three Cojuangco, nephews? Did this sale result in a $300-million, or more, loss to GSIS? Is it true that Aquino's nephews did not have the money to pay for the airline stocks, so they borrowed the money from 3 government-owned banks to pay GSIS, using the PAL stocks as collateral?


5. Meralco.- Did Cory Aquino order the transfer of the controlling shares of Meralco, then controlled by the Marcoses, to Aquino's allies the Lopezes she claimed were forced to sell-out by Marcos? Did the Lopezes get back the shares without paying a single centavo? Didn't the Lopezes earlier seek a Marcos government bail-out since they could no longer pay Meralco's debts of about P100 million? If the assets were ill-gotten, why were the shares not sequestered by the PCGG? Didn't Joker Arroyo admit to media that Meralco was returned to the Lopezes based only on Cory Aquino's verbal instructions? How did Aquino come to decide by herself the alleged forcible sell-out without resorting to the courts? Did the Lopezes reciprocate Aquino's act of bypassing the courts by accommodating the Cojuangcos as their silent partners in Meralco?

Manila Times, 14 May 2008, Government still owns Meralco, Efren L. Danao.
Cecilio T. Arilio, Greed & Betrayal, pp. 109-116.

6. ABS-CBN.- Did Cory Aquino direct the transfer of the media network ABS-CBN, then controlled by the Marcos ally Roberto Benedicto, to Aquino's own allies the Lopezes she claimed were unlawfully eased out by Marcos? Again did the Lopezes get back the company without paying a single centavo? Why was the company not sequestered instead by the PCGG? How did Aquino come to decide by herself the alleged unlawful take-over of the company without resorting to the courts? Did the Lopezes reciprocate Aquino's act of bypassing the courts by accommodating the Cojuangcos as their silent partners in ABS-CBN?

Cecilio T. Arilio, Greed & Betrayal, pp. 109-116.

7. Hacienda Luisita.- Did Cory Aquino promulgate a “midnight decree”, just before she lost legislative powers as revolutionary President, that provided for the exemption of large estates from land reform through a stock option clause (EO 229)? Was the stock option exemption clause later adopted by the Aquino Congress? Did Aquino actually intend to exempt Hacienda Luisita from the beginning, while she exhorted all the other landowners to give up their lands for agrarian reform?


Did Jose Cojuangco, Sr., father of Cory Aquino, secure the transfer of Central Bank's international reserves to Manufacturer's Trust Company in New York, and obtain a loan from the GSIS, to finance his private acquisition of Hacienda Luisita in 1957? Didn't the government loan and assistance come with a condition to distribute the land to the farmers by 1967? Didn't the Cojuangcos refuse to distribute the land come 1967 by insisting on legal technicalities that there were no tenants at the hacienda? If the obligation to distribute were indeed void as argued by the Cojuangcos, doesn't that make the GSIS loan and Central Bank assistance unlawful for being without a public purpose?


After the Marcos government sued the Cojuangcos to compel the distribution, didn't Cory Aquino as the new President secure the dismissal of the case before the Court of Appeals in 1988, through the government's own motion to dismiss by promising that the hacienda will be distributed anyway under its agrarian reform program? Aren't the Cojuangcos still in possession of the hacienda until today continuing its long-standing resistance to compulsory distribution?


8. Garchitorena Land Scam.- Did Cory Aquino know about the fraudulent land deal from Father Joaquin Bernas about a month before it was exposed in Congress by Rep. Edcel Lagman, but chose to keep silent about it because it involved Romeo Santos, an associate of her brother Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who played a key role in Aquino's campaign against Marcos in Bicol? Didn't the DAR under Secretary Philip Juico almost succeed in purchasing the 1,888-hectare Garchitorena estate in Camarines Sur from Sharp International Marketing for P62.7 million under CARP's Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) program, when Sharp acquired the same property as foreclosed asset from UCPB for only P3.8 million one year before? Did Romeo Santos finance the anomalous transaction by providing funds to Sharp president Alex Luna for the land purchase before trying to sell it to the government?


9. SCTEX Exit.- Did Cory Aquino personally lobby with Gloria Arroyo to construct at government expense an interchange along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway that led directly to a private road of Hacienda Luisita's Central Techno Park? Aren't companies that wish to have exits that lead directly to their private properties the ones to pay the government for these exits? Isn't this the practice in the South Luzon Expressway where private companies paid the PNCC for special “private” exits?


10. Hacienda Luisita Massacre.- Did 7 farmers actually die during the Hacienda Luisita massacre of November 2004, because Dinky Soliman insists that she saw only 2 dead bodies? After the massacre, were 6 more farmer supporters killed one by one from December 2004 through October 2005?



12 May 2011

Distrusting the System: On Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez' resignation

The resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez from her position has already made the news. This is all the more interesting since the resignation is made on the eve of the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

Reactions from the internet has been mostly of relief, that Merci at least had the decency to spare the government and the public from the ills and pains of a protracted trial, to calls for PNoy to appoint a “better” Ombudsman.

My reaction is one of disappointment, not for her, or for the trial, but for the country. When forces of media and pure politics trump legal processes, can we still claim to be a bastion of democracy? When cynicism and distrust of the system is from those who have the means to wage a full-on legal defense, can ordinary citizens then still trust the system? This is not to say that I am in favor of Omb. Gutierrez, and that I believe her innocence. Her guilt or innocence is something to be established in a competent court, which never materialized in her case. Do note however, that in the articles of impeachment, the charges only constitute a lack of speed in acting on cases, and NEVER was there any charge accusing former Omb. Merceditas Gutierrez. She was slow, yes. But corrupt? Apparently it is not part of the accusations. See for yourself here.

What this ultimately entails is that the system is not working. The rule of law is nonexistent, and apparently, it is the rule of men- specifically, the rule of He Who Resides by the River- that prevails.

* * *

Some quarters theorize that with Merci gone, it is Chief Justice Corona next. PNoy promised to go after GMA, and ultimately, whatever legal actions to be taken against GMA will be ruled upon by the Supreme Court, thus it is imperative for PNoy’s agenda to win over the Supreme Court Justices. This is all the more concerning, as the Chief Justice has exercised his power to ask Malacanang to comment on EO 13. Blogger Pinoy Solutions even speculated that it is the power of the purse and the power of mass media that the Yellow Administration can wield to influence the Supreme Court Justices over to their cause.

My thought on this matter is one of repulsion. The Constitution directs the Supreme Court of the land to dispense justice fairly to all, without fear or favor. This is the reason why Lady Justice is depicted as blindfolded, for Justice should be applied equally to all, otherwise, to none at all. To even propose that the Supreme Court be swayed with the power of the purse and the pressure of the mass media is an affront to the concept of justice as it should function in a democracy.

President Noynoy should do well to stop politicizing everything and instead focus on economic solutions. This is not to say that GMA should be let off the hook, if indeed there is substantial evidence to institute proper criminal proceedings- but having the energies of the current administration focused on seeing GMA behind bars is such a waste of time and effort. Their energies should be better used in eradicating poverty and lifting up the general welfare of the people. What good is one former president jailed, if the rest of the country burns? This would show more and more that the system as it is running right now is not to be trusted, and if this continues to spiral, then I am afraid that it may lead to civil unrest, if not anarchy.


About the Author


I am a law student, BPO employee, amateur photographer, airsofter, wannabe surfer, and armchair political pundit, yearning for that one big chance to prove myself and my abilities, and hopefully, contribute to nation-building as well.

11 April 2011

Shedding the Light of Truth on Current Philippine Realities: Recovering the Spirit of Dr. Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere: Rejecting Moral Corruption, Promoting Moral Virtue

Here's an interesting white paper circulating in the net. Curiously, it is dated February 22 (start date of the EDSA revolt), instead of say February 25 (end date of said revolt). This is pure speculation, but could the anonymous author be hinting at an unfinished revolution? DK


February 22, 2011

The Social Cancer in Rizal’s Time and in Our Time

In 1886 our national hero Dr. José Rizal wrote his immortal Noli Me Tangere. In his introduction to the novel he affirmed that he aimed to raise a part of the veil covering the social cancer that was causing Philippine society to sink ever deeper into colonial bondage, ignorance, disease, and destitution. This social cancer was a pernicious socio-economic and political system that fed on the ignorance, incompetence, corruption, and hypocrisy of a critical mass of the Spanish colonialists and their native collaborators who ruled the Philippines at that time.

Today our country is in a similar situation. Under the rule of an administration that promised to take the path of righteousness and reform, our country and our people are suffering from a social cancer like that denounced by Rizal. Because of that social cancer, the life of ordinary Filipinos—the middle class and especially the poor--is not any better, and in fact is becoming more difficult and more dangerous. Even the rich are less and less secure in their persons and possessions.

Why have conditions in our country come to be this way? Things have become this way because the leaders of the political establishment who control the government of our country today are guilty of incompetence and corruption. Deceitfully concealed by ostentatious pronouncements dripping with hypocrisy, they unintentionally and unwillingly reveal their incompetence and corruption by their use of evasive discourse and inconsistent attempts an explanation.

This incompetence and corruption is not just in terms of specific areas of governance. It has gone to the point of wantonly manipulating the electoral institutions and processes which are the very foundation of the democratic way of life that our people have chosen, in order to maintain the illusion of a massive and uncontestable electoral mandate.

Incompetence of the Administration

The incumbent administration has revealed itself as incompetent. It gravely mishandled the Luneta hostage crisis of August 2010. Its bizarre moves in foreign affairs have unnecessarily offended Taiwan while earning the contempt of China. This administration is unable to contain the increasing incidence of crime that now kills and injures even the wealthy. It cannot capture high profile persons wanted by the law, who are just hiding within the country. In relation to the peace negotiations with extremist insurgent groups, it has granted them unwarranted concessions that have gravely weakened the negotiating position of the government. The recent capture of top CPP and NPA leaders was achieved by conscientious and competent elements within the AFP and the PNP, not because of, but rather in spite of the thrust of this administration’s policy in relation to the insurgencies.

The societal damage inflicted by the incompetence of the political establishment running the government is worsened by a mean, petty, self-righteous, and mentally dishonest attitude and mode of actuation, typically seen in their divisive treatment of the officer corps of the AFP and the PNP, and the intelligence community as well, reducing the effectiveness of these institutions. This mean, petty, dishonest, and self-righteous attitude is shown by their repudiating or dismantling of even the good policies and programs of past administrations, and attempting to take credit for some of the achievements of these past administrations.

Corruption of the Administration

This administration has shown itself to be corrupt, and with that corruption they are burdening our people with more hardship. This corruption is shown in many ways. One is the coddling of incompetent persons who were given high government positions, and when unable to perform up to standards, are retained in their positions or sent abroad for schooling in the knowledge and skills of the job they were appointed to. Foisting upon the people a government by improvisation, which spends the
people’s money to no good result, is indeed corruption. Then there is the rampant smuggling in major ports outside the Metro Manila. Its increasing the size of the graft-ridden pork barrel is of a piece with its other corrupt practices.

In addition, jueteng remains rampant as ever, and will soon be concealed under the guise of the so-called Loterya. This is not surprising since one of the high officials being coddled by the top person of this administration has been caught by the Senate dealing with a top jueteng magnate, after an attempt by a blatant lie to deny any such contact. Lately information has surfaced of public officials belonging to the ruling party engaging in illegal logging, often in collusion with insurgent forces,
ironically with the toleration of an administration that claims to have taken the righteous path.

There is also the matter of gifts of intimate personal favors and expensive cars. Receiving these is indeed corruption, as willy-nilly these will affect decisions on public policies and appointments. The moral culpability of receiving these favors and gifts forbidden by law is worsened by evasiveness and inconsistent explanations as to the real source and motive of these favors and gifts.

Moreover this administration, supposed to be a paragon of honesty, has appointed to head the COMELEC a person reputed to be one of the handful of most crooked election-fixing lawyers in this country. In one of his first public pronouncements this Chairman of the COMELEC made the unconscionable proposal to purchase the PCOS machines from Smartmatic, for an amount that COMELEC insiders describe as a huge overprice. One would think that when this self-righteous administration came to power, the days of tongpats were over, but obviously this is not the case.

The Administration and the Grave Crime of Manipulating the Electoral System

Arguably the most serious crime of this administration and its enablers is the manipulation—partly consummated, partly ongoing—of electoral institutions and processes. This crime strikes at the heart of the real democracy that the Filipino people aspire for. This administration is deliberately concealing the grave anomalies in the May 2010 elections, to convey the impression that it has an indisputable, massive, or landslide mandate. It is moving to put the COMELEC under its control through the appointment as Chairman or Commissioners of persons who are tainted by corruption or are unsuitable because of partisan connections with the appointing authority.

This administration’s manipulation of the electoral system has prominent elements of disrespect for the rule of law. Take for example its silence and inaction in the face of grave violations of election laws by the COMELEC, pointed out in clear and vehement terms by prominent members of the information and communications technology community and of civil society, and even by some well-known pro-administration figures. The consummated manipulation of the electoral system, in large part perpetrated electronically on a massive scale, with at least the acquiescence of the present administration, is an ethical enormity that dwarfs the evil of the “Hello, Garci” episode, because it allowed and will allow fraud on a gigantic scale and in a manner difficult to detect and even more difficult to rectify by the vast majority of ordinary citizens who are unacquainted with information and communications technology and the nefarious workings of many COMELEC officials.

Moral Corruption and Hypocrisy of the Present Administration

Perhaps the most lamentable fault of this administration, reminiscent of the Pharisees of biblical notoriety, is hypocrisy. This administration has deliberately cultivated a pretended image of personal honesty, integrity, and competence, while concealing much dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence. It has become very much like the whitened sepulchers castigated in the Bible. This concealment is in some cases abetted, in other cases unknowingly aided, by media outlets and practitioners. Some of the latter are complicit in deceit, others are mesmerized by the illusion of virtue projected by the regime, and still others are insufficiently informed.

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines, in a pastoral letter issued last January 30, 2011, rightly condemned “moral corruption,” in the sense of gross disrespect toward authentic human values and Filipino cultural values regarding human life. The present administration, elected on a promise of righteousness, of reform, of putting an end to corruption, is also guilty of a related form of moral corruption, of which hypocrisy is the characteristic feature. This hypocrisy is being acted out by this administration in many ways, including its biased and prejudiced choices of issues and persons to be investigated and prosecuted, on one hand, and to be concealed and protected, on the other hand.

The Present Administration Is Not Delivering on Its Promises

This early in its term, this administration shows clear signs that it cannot deliver on the promise of rooting out corruption and relieving the people of penury and hardship. What this administration is bringing about is mediocre and therefore insufficient aggregate economic growth, deteriorating socio-political conditions, worsening lawlessness, and increased insurgent recruitment and activity.

Under this administration we cannot expect the country to attain economic takeoff toward well-distributed national prosperity. Nor can we expect the country to advance toward attaining our basic securities—such as defense, internal security, food, water, energy--as a nation. Our national life will become even more degraded, for hypocrisy is now added to misgovernment, thus delaying insight and indignation on the part of the citizenry, while more damage is done to our nation. This dangerous trend of events will continue until the time when a critical mass of our citizenry discover that indeed this administration feeds on the social cancer that is draining away the strength and life of our country. God forbid that by that time our citizenry awaken to the harm perpetrated by the incumbent administration, the damage to our country’s viability and prospects for prosperity would be irreversible.

So that Our Nation May Have Abundant Life--Tearing Off the Veil of Hypocrisy and Taking the Road of Sincerity and Truthfulness

As Dr. Jose Rizal did in his own time, let us tear off the veil of this hypocrisy concealing the evils inflicted on our nation, and expose the cancer that gnaws at the vital organs of our society. Let us unite to perform the radical surgery that will excise this social cancer and to begin the restoration of our country’s collective and societal health. It is time that we put an end to the moral corruption of the political establishment. It is time that we inform the public of the real situation of our country and the truth of the public issues being debated in Philippine society today.

Let us accompany our people as they take the road of sincerity and truthfulness, the road that will bring prosperity, health, and education to our nation. Let us rid ourselves of the present death-dealing system, and make our own a kind of politics and governance that works for the common good and therefore gives abundant life to our people . Together let us vigorously promote the honesty, creativity, competence, and perseverance that can instill enthusiasm, discipline, and a strong and deep sense of nation among our people.

For our survival as a nation, for the good of our families and friends, for the future of prosperity and honor that our people deserve, by all means let us end moral corruption by removing the leaders who embody and perpetuate the present system. But more important than that, let us unite to propagate moral virtue by working for a change of system, not just a change of leaders.

Let our united pursuit of justice, truth, and integrity be authentic because we carry out this task comprehensively, and without unwarranted bias and without prejudice. Let us unite in working to carry out thoroughgoing reform not by negative moves rendered harmful by self-aggrandizing grandstanding, but rather by positive and productive moves that while correctly insisting on individual responsibility, nevertheless emphasize institutional and systemic change.

By empowering the marginalized majority of our people, let us help bring about a situation of equal societal power to all citizens. In this way we will carry out a social revolution that will establish and consolidate an authentic democracy—one in which all citizens enjoy formal equality under the law rendered effective for the common good by equality of real societal power.

In sum, let us unite for a Philippines whose people and society are free, prosperous, healthy, educated, and respected in the community of nations.

01 March 2011

The next revolution

CTALK By Cito Beltran
(The Philippine Star) Updated February 25, 2011 12:00 AM

Today a privileged few will be celebrating and commemorating their revolution and their recurring victory. Once again “they” are the “bidas” and heroes of a struggle that millions of Filipinos mounted, but benefitted only the rich and now the powerful.

Yes, even these rich and now powerful people suffered. Yes they lost loved ones, and yes they were all direct victims of a dictatorship gone wrong. But so were millions more, many of us choosing to silently remember significant days of fear, oppression, repression alongside our personal victories and answered prayers.

Under the dictatorship, no one had an exclusive on pain and suffering. Most, if not all Filipinos suffered, we just never talk about it. What separates the ordinary Filipinos from today’s recycled heroes and bidas is that the latter all come from the same class of people that their enemies come from.

They all come from the same circle of politicians or politics, they are products of the same or like-minded educational institutions, they mingle in the same social circle and at the end of the day, while they may fight over power and influence, they all have the same agendas and interests to protect.

Now that the same heroes and bidas have successfully removed their second set of enemies, they are back for a second shot at personal glory or, God forbid, a second chance at personal gain.

Sadly, the rest of the country’s ordinary Filipinos continue to suffer and all the efforts of reviving and regaling about a revolution long over, is like playing a broken record over and over.

Maybe it was the congressional confirmation that “WE” are now paying the highest electric bills in the whole world, that put me in such a foul mood, or perhaps it was the self serving act of Congressmen who divided among themselves the bounty called “Road Users tax” the same way Somali pirates divide ransom money for captured cargo ships.

Or perhaps, it’s the ill effect of travelling around the country particularly in Mindanao where I repeatedly discovered governors, mayors and even small time councilors and barangay officials running local governments like their family business.

While Senators and Congressmen are loudly investigating cases of AFP corruption that happened six or seven years ago, no legislator or official in this administration has dared to investigate local officials who own malls, fastfood franchises, commercial properties and mansions just like the one owned by the Ampatuans in Davao.

Who in Congress or the government has undertaken a financial audit of LGUs and officials who recklessly borrow hundreds of millions from banks in order to fund ill-conceived development plans to insure their political future?

Is there a law, and has it ever been used to fine or imprison elected officials who take hundreds of millions in high-risk loans only to leave the problem behind for the next administration to pay?

Political experts tell me that no Senator and especially no Congressman would ever dare to question governors and mayors about their exorbitant or ostentatious construction or development projects for fear of losing votes.

As an example, if the Maguindanao massacre had not taken place, the Ampatuans could have carried on running their province as a family business, the same way several politicians and political families have been doing so, unnoticed and unchallenged.

It is interesting to note that Senators and Congressmen went after the pharmaceutical companies like a lynch mob and succeeded to cut their profits by 50 percent, all in the name of helping poor Filipinos. But now that Congress has been told officially that the Philippines has the highest residential electricity rate in the world, will they actually go after power firms?

I doubt it. Just ask whom among our Senators and Congressmen own shares of stocks in power firms and exactly how many million or hundred million pesos worth do they own? Of course some of them acquired their shares by way of compensation for legal services. Some purchased them legally prior to becoming members of Congress.

But regardless of how they acquired their shares, can we actually expect them to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs?

Can we expect the rich and the powerful to patriotically lead the real revolution we need to have today? Can we expect them to lead the fight against another form of dictatorship that many of them are part of? Can we plead for them to step down as economic dictators and dismantle their dictatorship over a nation buried in poverty? Of course not!

Ultimately, we will need a new revolution in the Philippines. It won’t be a political one just like all the other picnic-revolutions we have seen on EDSA.

Just like the “social media” revolts have overwhelmed monarchies and dictatorships in the Middle East, we will see a similar revolution in our nation. It won’t be against “government” and it won’t be political in nature.

What we will see will be a consumer-based revolution alongside a revolution of the electorate that will target specific politicians. We will find pocket wars against businesses such as power firms and their political or politician-share holders. Eventually, competition or resentment within the business community will fuel information wars against local government officials who have abused their power and their position.

Unlike our aging cynics or economic dictators, the new generation of young Filipinos are one with their fellow “NETizens”. They will share, they will Tweet, and they will inform the WORLD about the current dictators in the Philippines.

But unlike the four-lane highway that we know as EDSA, the next revolution in the Philippines will be on the electronic highway of the world.

* * *