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Dec 14

Bringing out the bayonets

Mainphoto(Manila Times photo)

In the news today, Ninez Cacho Oliverez, editor-in-chief of The Daily Tribune, blares that Gloria readies exit plan; ‘Perfect Storm’ plot set
PALACE TO STAGE COUP, INSTALL ‘NEW ORDER’ WITH LOYAL GENERALS ANOINTING 3-MAN ‘JUNTA’. Read the whole thing. The idea of a self-coup won’t go away, it seems.

Speaking of coups, Malaya says, General, 4 colonels tagged in coup plot: Army chief to putschists: Come out and fight.

The Secretary of Justice thinks aloud on what to do with nutty retired generals.

The hacienda of President Aquino’s family will be subdivided, finally, which ironically frees Mrs. Aquino of a big political and social problem.

The Senate has approved a report recommending that the Comelec resign. This is something people on both sides of the political aisle should be able to support. Christian Monsod, for one, has long advocated some sort of Comelec reform.

And just so we can accentuate the positive, take a look at the good news on Inq7.net. (By the way, the Filipino blogosphere’s showbiz-heavy ratings numbers, as I’ve argued, simply reflects the reading habits of the public in general: see Inq7.net’s 10 most-read columns for the past week).

In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Who Will Use the Filipino Soldiers First?. The Inquirer editorial’s about Praetorian guards:

The issue, as far as the AFP is concerned, is whether the President had her conversations tapped, and who did the tapping. Investigations by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Newsbreak magazine suggest that Isafp did the tapping, upon the instigation of various groups, including one group, which according to Newsbreak magazine, included the President’s brother, Diosdado Macapagal Jr., and Ruben Cesar C. Reyes, a businessman who is said to be close to some top military officers. The Senate has been given testimony by Marietta Santos, a girlfriend of T/Sgt. Vidal Doble, that she saw the equipment used and had free access to where Isafp agents held office and did their work.

The question of course being, an age-old one: who will guard the guardians? That is my concern, and it is one brought up by the inability of the armed forces to submit itself to scrutiny. Dan Mariano has more on why the military’s handling of the controversy is worrisome.

Amando Doronila is of the belief that looking too closely into the issue is dangerous:

Garcillano is a witness with a shattered credibility. His testimony is worthless whether it is intended to clear the President or to smear or show the hypocrisy of her detractors.

The hearings have opened a peripheral issue that is irrelevant to election cheating and the legitimacy of the President. That issue focuses on who ordered the military intelligence service to tap the conversations between the President and Garcillano. This issue involves national security. If the President is not safe from wire-tapping by the Armed Forces, the implication is that the commander in chief has lost control over the military.

Should Congress push this issue beyond the end of the year, it is bound to give rise to a nasty confrontation between the military and civil authorities.

Marichu Villanueva thinks rumors of military unrest and possible intervention are a matter of intramurals within the officer corps:

On the other hand, the coup talks were spawned reportedly by the inter-class intrigues among the graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). You see, both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are headed at present by Gen. Generoso Senga as Chief of Staff and Director-General Arturo Lomibao, the eminent members of the PMA Class 1972. But in fairness to both gentlemen, they do not allow themselves to be dragged into such petty intrigues. In the meantime, however, the Commission on Appointments (CA) deferred to next year the confirmation of Senga’s promotion as AFP Chief of Staff. Senga’s confirmation got snagged not because of the coup rumors but on the “Hello Garci” case where the Intelligence Services of the Philippines figured in the alleged illegal wiretapping activities. If we are to believe all these allegations, an ISAFP agent got President Arroyo, the AFP’s Commander-in-Chief, in trouble.

Conrado de Quiros has a superb meditation on the dangers of apathy.

Jojo Robles muses on the first anniversary of the death of Fernando Poe, Jr. -and seems rather glad he’s dead.

Carmen Guerrero Nakpil writes lyrically of the Ermita of her youth, and of times before that, and after. Greg Macabenta in turn, writes of a century of Filipino migration to Hawaii.

In the blogosphere, RG Cruz has a roundup of the Garci hearings. Uniffors points to the PCIJ’s analysis of who did the wiretapping.

The Philippines Free Press blog reproduces its Man of the Year article for 1940 (Elizalde became the first Philippine ambassador to the USA and then Secretary of Foreign Affairs; interesting is the use of the world “Pinoy” so long ago).

Normblog on how more is known on what Germans knew of the Holocaust when it was happening.

Professional Heckler lists some ironies.

cyberbaguioboy lists why he wishes Christmas was over.

And this has got to me the most brilliant appeal for money, ever!

sketches of a village idiot savant reports it costs 31 Pesos to watch Harry Potter in Dumaguete.

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29 comments

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  1. joselu

    It’s frightening the level of incompitence that exsist w/in ISAFP.Anybody’d gf can just hang out there.I guess no amount of analysis can ever figure out what are the ridiculos causes of our problems.How can a super sensitive ISAFP be runed so unprofessionaly?And just because of that we are in so much shit!

  2. geo

    So, by piecing together some of the linked articles and sites, here is a plausible scenario:

    *GMA and/or her allies oredered the wiretap because “votes were up for sale” in Mindanao.

    *GMA then called Garcilliano and conspired to cheat (which, of course, was heard on the wiretap…by the bumbling ISAPF).

    *The economy was next set-up for failure/crisis…opening the door for regime change.

    *A fake coup was planned so that GMA and her allies could grab power and institute draconian, fascist measures.

    *This was all done with the blessing of George Bush and the US government (which, of course, necessarily includes the military, CIA, Defense and State Depts, and Congress).

    Fascinating.

  3. Karl

    The reason why I love this blog is for its spice driven by variety of topics and visitors….

  4. Carl

    It’s been announced that Capt. Faeldon of Oakwood fame has escaped from ISAFP custody. One wonders if there isn’t a cat-and-mouse game going on. Just when GMA feels stronger and more confident of finishing her term, the rumors of troop movements and the threats of ousting her escalate. Some pretty powerful people with military connections must be trying to pin her down to make an exit before 2010. Otherwise, the dogs of war will be unleashed. What is clear is that politicians have made a mess of things over the past 25 years.

    As for Garci’s passport, all sorts of conspiracy theories will abound, if only to save face for those who were too hasty to score points with the public. A lot of “atat” politicians, have eggs on their faces and, politicians being what they are, will not admit to being long on rhetoric and short on homework. Decoys, wild geese, and notes verbale will be the scapegoats.

  5. mlq3

    I am amazed at how everyone is willing to accept Garci’s passport at face value.

  6. Karl

    . mlq3 wrote on December 14th, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    I am amazed at how everyone is willing to accept Garci’s passport at face value.

    Not me…

    per my comment on drivers license,etc…
    and the problem of all the three or two letter combinations aka institutions

  7. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    I am one of those that refuse the passport presented by Garci as the same passport that he used when he travelled or for his get away some 5 months ago(?).

    Between Singapore’s note verbale and Garci’s note mensongiere, I choose the former.

    When I read INQ’s newsflash stating that Garci had indeed presented a passport but that it was ‘clean’, my reaction is “Fiddlesticks!”.

    If Garci could lie poker faced about the accusations that he stole or buy votes, rigged the election counts in the South in spite of circumstancial evidences and the tape, or denied that he’d travelled through Singapore in spite of a note verbale by Singpore’s government that he did, we should NOT and must not take “this” passport at face value.

    Besides, we know it is not difficult to ask for another Philippine passport to be issued to the same person when the applicant declares that he’s lost the first one. In the present case, I won’t be surprised if another passport was issued to Garci illico particularly if that someone is from high up.

    Garci is a smart liar, a crook, a cheat, a criminal who has managed to transform the legislature into a pasture for horse manure.

    What I would like to know if someone in the legislature asked Garci pointblank if the passport he was presenting was the same passport he had in his possession during the time of the manhunt for him or when he was alleged to have skipped the country?

    I’m curious – did such a verbatim exchange take place?

  8. Y!

    Abat created this sort of transition government, his seat of power is in club filipino, and compares his self as MLQ, Sr.

    @-)

  9. Jon

    If Garci’s role was to confuse, then he’s succeeded.

    Possibilities:
    1. Garci did fly to Singapore and onward. He had a second passport.
    2. Garci did not leave the Philippines. He had a “decoy” fly for him using Garci’s name but the decoy’s picture. (A younger person because of the JR?)

    Any other theory? We can make a list and see which is the most plausible…

  10. Y!

    This is crazy. Why would you document (perfect storm) something of this nature? Didn’t the admin learned from the wiretapping incidence?

    Ngee.

  11. geo

    mlq3,

    I’m not too sure much of anything short of an indisputable fact should be taken at face value.

    Sure, it’s pretty easy to believe that Garci has shown us a (real or faked) passport…and used yet another (real or faked) passport to go to Singapore, England, Brazil and Argentina…and back again.

    Conversely, why isn’t it just as easy to believe that someone used a fake Garci passport and knew how to get into Singapore’s back door? The note verbale simply states that there is a record of a Garcilliano arriving at that private plane airport. I figure that the face of the man on the plane matched the picture in the passport, but…..

    By the way, as someone who lived and worked in Singapore, I offer that the notion that Singapore is squeaky-clean is a mis-informed one. Plenty of dirt there…it’s just a lot more subtle.

    I don’t know what the truth is about Garci/Singapore, but then again, probably only a handful do. Everyone else is guessing. So, mlq3, anything is possible.

    I would think that the Philipines should make a formal request to have the films reviewed of the specific departure lounge which said Garcilliano used the following day when he supposedly went to England. Whether or not the Singapore government will play ball is another question. “Face” may eventually be a factor in all of this. Nonetheless, the trail of potential evidence is certainly worth pursuing.

    Keep looking for facts; keep resisting the temptation to formulate conclusions. Hypotheses are fine…as long as they are recognized and accepted as such.

    Of course, I don’t care that much about Garci anyway…as his only role is as an alleged wiretap victim. Until and unless the wiretapper and the original tapes come out, that whole path leads to nowhere.

    The real facts, I continue to maintain, are in the ballot boxes.

    Wouldn’t it be something if each and every vote for each and every contest for an elected position was re-tabulated? Then we’d all really know what’s what and who’s who…instead of building convictions based on who’s story just sounds better…or is louder.

  12. a de brux

    I also lived in Singapore. Their bureaucrats are “cleaner” than the Philippine bureaucrats would ever be.

    I would believe their note verbale anytime compared to Garci’s note mensongiere.

  13. mlq3

    geo, curiouser and curiouser indeed. the simplest explanations are the most plausible:

    1. he left
    2. someone pretending to be him left
    3. he didn’t leave
    4. he left, but now presents a fake passport (easiest cover up is simply to buy a forged passport).

    If we assume the Singapore note verbale counts for something, it still is plausible someone left using a passport in his name -in which case, who did it? if the government is correct the garci who went through singapore flew via subic air, owned by a friendly businessmen, it still incriminates the administration. like i said, the coverup is the major, more provable, crime.

  14. Dodong

    There is just no comparison between Singapore and Philippines. In yardstick of evidence, a third party independent note verbale (not to mention a country which follows the law to the letter like hanging an Australian or flogging an American offender in public) is far reliable than a Philippine passport with all the departure/arrival stamps on it. One can get easily an authentic Philippine passport and have it backdated. And mind you, not only one but you can have two Philippine passports. The DFA can confirm the authenticity of Garci’s passport, but of course it has no entry on Singapore’s travel.

    The problem is not Garci. He is a pro on what he was doing coz all the bigwigs in both camps sought his services.

    The real problem is lack of prosecution of Garci in the regular court for obstruction of justice. It is appaling that the powerful lawyers are content with the moro-moro investigation in aid of legislation by the joint house committees. Until, Garci can really see that he will serve prison time, he will play all his cards to his advantage. It is apparent that oppositions are running a delicate balance not to push Garci too much lest he can break his confidentiality with them too.

  15. MitaMS

    sidetracked. we’re being sidetracked by all these other issues.

    we really can’t expect much from garci. of course he’ll lie to save his skin. of course he won’t say he helped gloria cheat in the elections, just as gloria says she did not cheat. i am not surprised he’ll lie about his passport as well.

    his statement about his having a credibility problem is like taking a potshot at the whole inquiry in congress, not to mention a potshot at the rest of us. question is, is there anything our government will do about it? law enforcement has yet to arrest someone for anything in relation to this whole mess. yet laws have been admittedly been broken left and right and up and down. laughable.

    it’s sad when one filipino’s credibility is exposed as virtually non-existent and nothing is done. it reflects on all of us.

  16. dodong

    Excellent point MitaMS. The government failed miserably to bring those responsible in wiretapping into justice. Senate President Franklin Drillon has pointed this out. How could a commander in chief appeared powerless against her own military? How can you teach the kids about law if the highest person in public office can be violated.

    If there is no prosecution of those who violated the anti-wiretapping law, it will lend support that the military had a hand in the last presidential election.

  17. kimosabe27

    Small talk. Whatever garbage Garci spews is inconsequential. A mere trifle.

    What is important is the writing on the wall. Something is sinisterly afoot. Abat proclaiming himself caretaker president, a detained head mutineer suddenly escapes.

    Pieces of the puzzle are suddenly falling into place. The end[game] is near.

    I anticipate a post-holiday political moro moro extravaganza.

  18. dodong

    If you take the media at its face value with all leaked materials and coup rumors, either will have a heart attack or laughing out loud.

    Like a noisy river, it is just shallow. You know the real one when you don’t hear anything and suddenly the Plaza Miranda bombing and house arrest like what the almighty Marcos did.

  19. a de brux

    Now I see “i” to “i” with Dodong and MitaMs.

    There’s hope for the Philippines…

  20. hvrds

    Please pass this on to the POEA and the Labor Department and to the Police and Military.
    Opportunities for advancement in Iraq. Get paid in dollars!!!!!!!!!!! We can offer competitive salaries. The Latino’s have never faced “juramentados.” The Philippine military and police have a clear competitive advantage.

    No human rights problems and the place is one big free fire zone. This is one place where the rules are shooting or incinerate first and then ask questions later. Contact our favorite generals for references. Be a part of Rummy’s and Cheney’s private armies. Killing, maiming and torture are allowed.
    The New Coalition of the Willing
    Private security firms in Iraq are hiring an increasing number of ex-guerrillas and soldiers from Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Chile. A recent ad on Iraqijobcenter.com, for example, offered the services of “a thousand Colombian combat-trained ex-soldiers and policemen” for security work in Iraq. This year, U.S. security firm Halliburton employed Colombians to protect oil installations in several Iraqi cities. Blackwater, another private security firm, has had a group of soldiers who once served for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on the payroll. Recruits often come from militaries known for human rights abuses or paramilitaries with ties to narcotrafficking. So why are U.S. contractors hiring Latin American mercenaries? “If a contractor is killed,” says Peter Singer, an expert on private military firms at the Brookings Institution, “it is less likely to make the news [than if it’s a U.S. soldier]. If it’s a contractor from another country, it is even less likely.”
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3315

  21. MitaMS

    dodong, re drilon. remember bunye said it was drilon who talked gma into doing her “I’m sorry” speech. i can beleive that. that was her biggest blunder of all but you cannot blame her entirely – you trust the people you think are your allies. what’s drilon’s agenda naman? drilon is senate president – why can’t he do anything about this sorry state we’re in? are they all powerless or just pretending to be for fear of something? darn, if i had their power and resources there’s no saying who would be in jail by now!

    kimosabe, abat’s role is to “test the waters” so to speak…for whom? i do not know. just my own kuro-kuro.
    i don’t want another coup of any sort, it’s bad for the country in the long run. i’m hitching my horses to ChaCha, reforms and eventually exterminating every *@#$%^& stubborn weed that keeps sprouting and thriving in our system.

  22. Karl

    I must have inherited my dad’s finding light at the end of the tunnel

    I have just evsdropped that he will visit gen Abat in prison

    I just did not know if he was joking and who he was talking too..

    My dad the great balancer

    during the past coups he is the referee/bridge for both sides even in a small manner

    right now he is working for gov NDCP and has friends on both sides

    I guess it is everything but natural

    The president is back after giving Thaksin a piece of her mind and rubbing in our gold medals and reminding him that she may not be around for the next SEA games

  23. dodong

    When Franklin Drillon withdraw his support from the President, I thought he was snake and had no “utang na loob”. But then again, it is the “kumpadre system” and “utang na loob” that skewed our country. We always put our friends and relatives first rather than looking what is right in the first place. And to me, Franklin Drillon and each senator did not owe anything to the President but to the people who elected them to the office. Same way, that Hilario Davide did not owe his appointment to President Estrada but to the constitution that allows him to exercise his function until retirement. A senator like Franklin Drillon is powerless if he did not go into alliances to muster enough votes to pass a bill or put forward a motion. It is another skillful balancing act, so to speak. I gave him credit for the interest in pursuing the violators in the anti-wiretapping law. It is interesting and disturbing to see lukewarm attitude of the pro-government senators as if they don’t want to touch the military. It is disturbing to see “what i thought as fearless” Senator Miriam Santiago an expert in anti-wiretapping law with her lengthy dissertation of not pursuing the case on Garcilliano but quiet and lost to assert civilian supremacy over military. These two senators came from the same place.

    The closest possible change would be through ChaCha. I have only reservation that politicians will design it again to their own benefit instead to bring stability.

  24. Karl

    Chacha :pre bloging days
    I was pro chacha all the way

    after blogging commenting looking at comments

    recent events

    made me think that nit is the electoral process automated or antiquated that must first be fixed

    if it is done in unisonm with chacha..fine as long as thy won’t bypass the issue

    what majority leader said about passing law first then worry bout implementation later and there is always room for improvement..again made me think

    no matter what form of government if our mindset is constant
    then the only thing constant is change….

    will chacha solve my problem statement on DFA,BID,LTO,BIR,BOC,DTI,NTC ….comelec,supreme court,etc

    id it does go on the deliberations then again I might be pro CHACHA again….

    i am for congressional inquiries if and only if they have direction and has a deadline….

  25. Carl

    Ever since Ferdinand Marcos extensively politicized the military, we have been foisted the myth of civilian supremacy. Civilians may rule, but not without the acquiescense of the military. Witness Erap.

    As a rule, civilians have to play along and cultivate the military. After all, they are the real kingmakers. Factions may exist, even within the military, but there is one that really calls the shots. And it mostly likely has a pipeline to Washington, D.C., if not Langley, Virginia.

    Just when GMA felt she was off the ropes and began to exude enough self-confidence to contemplate finishing her term, these accoustics begin. Well, they are more than accoustics and certainly there is a big stick behind the threats. Abat is a pawn, just as so many others. The political battle between GMA and the opposition, real though it may be, is but a sideshow. The real battle is in the backrooms, behind public view. There is a silent power struggle behind the public power struggle, which may be more substantial.

    mlq3, it isn’t about accepting Garci’s passport at face value. It’s like watching a game of chess, Garci made his move. Let’s see what move the other side makes. But they definitely have to ponder a better move this time. Of course the questions regarding Garci’s exodus are there for all to see. But the challenge is to prove it with concrete evidence. MitaMS may have a point, it’s a sidetrack. I still believe the real power struggle is being played out behind the stage. But in the meantime, it’s entertaining to see what the opposition can do to pin Garci down.

  26. dodong

    You may be right on target there, Carl.

    Senator Nene Pimentel complained of US involvement in bringing down Gen Carlos Garcia. It has to have US blessings, and this is the first time a Philippine history that a general is court martialed and brought to justice. Not a long ago, our ferocious Senator Miriam Santiago complained of the US military as oversexed and overhere. Both are quiet on pursuing the perpetrators of anti-wiretapping which only lead to the military. Hmmm.

  27. Jon

    I have renewed my passport many times as I have been working overseas since 1993. I think it is easy to get multiple passports (genuine ones) from the DFA, Manila or the consulates abroad.

    1. Garci flew to Singapore using a different passport than what he presented to Congress.
    2. Someone else with Virgillo Garcillano’s name flew to Singapore.
    – that explains the cleanliness of Garci’s passport shown to Congress
    – very easy to issue a passport if you have connections inside DFA
    – Note Verbale from Singapore confirms that there was such a person who landed and flew thru their country

    In any case, as mlq3 mentioned, this is an elaborate scheme. Borrowing from Garci words himself, he’s not superman to do all these by himself alone!
    We are not really being sidetracked here, we’re just trying to cover all the bases as best as we can. Trying to understand and be well informed. Each one is still mindful of what is important to himself. Trying to decipher which is garbage and which ones are gold.

  28. MitaMS

    sidetracked, unfortunately yes.

    just as the opposition was sidetracked by their own grandstanding and making pogi points with media while calling for gloria to resign when they should have been concentrating on building a surefire impeachment case.

  29. Pompini

    Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!

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