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Mar 15

Happy pills

Three surveys are front and center in the news today.

The first is the survey on satisfaction and dissatisfaction felt with regards to the President. I’ve come to be convinced by the view of Philippine Commentary that “net satisfaction” ratings are at best, misleading, and in general, a bogus figure. Better to focus on the numbers expressing satisfaction, and then the numbers expressing dissatisfaction, but don’t subtract one from the other. If we build in the plus or minus range for each figure, giving us the minimum and maximum for each, it looks like this:

September last year:
34-37-40% Satisfied
45-48-51% Dissatisfied

November last year:
31-34-37% Satisfied
44-47-50% Dissatisfied

Now:
36-39-41% Satisfied
40-43-46% Dissatisfied

A definite improvement for the President. Her best showing since 2004.

The second is the survey of expat attitudes concerning corruption. The usually highly supportive Tony Lopez quotes the President as saying in a semi-one-on-one, the survey is the result of opposition bias among members of groups like Transparency International:

What came out of that effort was the reaction of the President on the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy survey of 1,474 expats in 13 countries.

“[T]he credit ratings are fine. It’s the political analysis [that is unfair],” the President told me. She blamed “opposition people” in a foreign group monitoring corruption across the globe for the negative perception.

“If you look at the ones in Transparency International Philippines, they are made up of opposition people,” she pointed out. Negative reports about the country, she added, were an offshoot of her being unpopular…

…Meanwhile, the President revealed, “Many businessmen have told me this, they have never seen the economy as good as it is now.” She cited examples of what she calls “trophy investments” coming in to build tourism complexes in Manila and the Visayas, investors wanting to buy many of the power generating plants being sold by the state-owned National Power Corp., and the rapid expansion of the call center business with the participation of big companies.

Lopez himself thinks it’s due to a combination of negative reportage from a free media, the ignorance on the part of a minority of well-placed expats, and, well, corruption in the government! Alex Magno says perception is a valid measure of things, and says, we’d better accept that there’s no way to spin a p.r. black eye for the country. The Palace says it’s going to do something about it after the President’s pooh-poohing didn’t get traction.

And of course, there’s Pulse Asia’s survey of senatorial preferences, which I commented on yesterday. Some additional things, though, of interest: see Atheista‘s survey of the results, as well as that of Newsstand and Ellen Tordesillas, who points out the survey shows the effect of nuisance candidates: Benigno Aquino III should really be number 5, and Allan Peter Cayetano, number 2, if there weren’t misleading candidates who “spoiled” some of the responses.

The Manila Times says there are 17 candidates in the running based on the results. Newsbreak points out that the heavy ad spending of Mike Defensor and Prospero Pichay haven’t really helped their poll numbers; the Inquirer, though, points out Defensor has gained 7 points (give or take, as with all surveys, a point or two) but Roco is the biggest gainer. The Inquirer also points out most people taking the survey have 7 names in mind, perhaps another reason the numbers for those taking up the rear appear so fluid.

Jove Francisco recounts the President’s, and the Palace’s, response to all three.

A blip in official relations between the USA and RP has the American ambassador defending her legislature’s right to investigate: Davao Today publishes the testimony of Amnesty International in full, and links to Satur Ocampo’s YouTube statement. Anyway, official American concern over the human rights situation is mandated, apparently, by aid being related to human rights.

Stock market is droopy again (remember the Slate article I linked to? It was prescient: global stocks fell due to US housing jitters). In his column, John Mangun tries to put the whole thing in its proper perspective:

And the effect to the Philippines? If the PSEi holds above the 3,000 level through this Friday, go buy stocks next Monday.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is, Caught in the middle, which makes reference to thoughts discussed in my July 2005 entries in this blog.

As for Billy Esposo, he wonders: what if the NPA resort to terrorism?

The Inquirer editorial is thankful bishops rebuffed Mike Velarde’s wish for a list of candidates to endorse.

In the blogosphere, Patsada Karajaw discusses the senate surveys and some local races; Secret Gospels, Secret Sites writes about an interesting traveling Filipino journal. The Spy in the Sandwich denounces Tim Yap and his hipster attitudes.

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  1. Jeg

    Newsbreak points out that the heavy ad spending of Mike Defensor and Prospero Pichay haven’t really helped their poll numbers

    The reaction in our house and in the office to the Defensor’s and Pichay’s ads was unanimous. It went something like ‘Yikes!?’

  2. benj

    The COMELEC just made stalking easier

    http://www.comelecncr.com/ALPHA_INDEX.htm

  3. john marzan

    The Spy in the Sandwich denounces Tim Yap and his hipster attitudes.

    Hah!

  4. DJB

    MLQ3,
    You might want to correct the URL in the link to Billy Esposo’s article:

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storyPage.aspx?storyId=70100

    Oh, and here is my riposte to Argumentum Espositus:

    http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2007/03/argumentum-espositus-anti-terror-law.html

  5. Ate Shawie

    NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY SPENT …

    IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO ONE THING …

    THEY ARE THE “ULTIMATE” SIP SIP TO THE PANDAK IN THE

    PALACE !!! — SAMA NA KAYO SA PAGBAGSAK NI GLORIA !!

    THE TWO OF YOU STINKS !!! – YOU SUPPORT A CHEATER

    A LIAR AND A FAKE LEADER — WE NEED NOT TO ASK WHY ?

    THEIR ADS JUST REMINDS US OF HOW MUCH PREVILEDGE AND

    MONEY THEY HAVE “CORRUPTED” FROM THE TIME THEY LICK

    GLORIA’S ASS ….

  6. Ate Shawie

    DEFENSOR AND PICHAY SHOULD JUST “SAVE” THEIR

    MONEY … AND GIVE IT TO THEIR COMELEC-OPERATOR ….

    NANGANGAMPANYA PA KAYO …. HANAP LANG KAYO NG GARCI

    E DI BAKA MAG NUMBER ONE PA KAYO

  7. manuelbuencamino

    Have you seen the Defensor ad featuring that female comedian?

    Basically she says she is a good mother and Defensor is a good father, I thougth she was endorsing the father of her children. Well…they do make a lovely couple. He with the hare-lip and she with the wide mouth.

  8. manuelbuencamino

    If this government, with all the laws currently in the books, still cannot prevent, capture, and defeat muslim and CPP-NPA terrorists then the solution is to replace this government with one that can, without asking us to surrender our basic rights.

    The Anti-Terror Law simply provides legal cover for human rights abuses and abusers.

    “But wait a minute” say the defenders of the Anti-Terror Bill. “What about the schoolchildren and the cell sites etc.etc.etc..?”

    And I guess we can stop all that with an anti-terror law because it allows government to detain people it suspects of membership in organizations it decides to call terrorist, it can detain people it suspects of harboring thoughts that may be acted out….and wait minute…. It can actually live out a fucking Tom Cruise movie fantasy!

    And torture is acceptable. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said, “In my judgment, this new paradigm [the ‘war on terrorism’] renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.”

    As we commemorate Ramon Magsaysay’s centennial, let us remmeber that he did not need an anti-terror law to break the back of the Huk rebellion.

    Magsaysay was a gentleman. He fought clean. He didn’t an anti-terror law in order to win dirty.

    But we shouldn’t follow the example of Magsaysay who didn’t run away when his country called. We have Bush, Cheney and their entire neo-con chickenhawk brigade to tell us how to fight wars.

    “Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote. ”
    - William L. Shirer

    Let us follow the chickenhawk neocons over the cliff.

    But let’s not forget to shout “Sig Heil!” before we jump.

  9. baycas

    gloria and her minions hope the old PERCeptions can be brought further back in march 2003…

    GMA reveals moves to rid bureaucracy of graft of corruption

    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today said government efforts to fight corruption in the last two years have started paying off, as she revealed moves to rid some agencies of graft and corruption.

    In a radio interview, the President cited the latest finding of the Hong Kong-based Political & Economic and Risk Consultancy (PERC) that showed that corruption in the Philippines had become “less serious.”

    “May ibang bansang nag-overtake na sa atin sa ranking ng corruption (Other nations have overtaken us in the corruption rankings),” she said.

    She added that mechanisms are being put in place to further strengthen the campaign to rid the bureaucracy of corrupt people and corrupt practices.

    She said the government would put up at least two units – one that would have wide-ranging tasks and the other, a smaller one – to carry out anti-corrupt practices programs.

    “Sisimulan natin doon sa mga ahensiya na gusto nating maging showcase ng fight against graft and corruption (We will start with agencies we want to be showcases of our anti-corruption campaign),” she stressed, referring to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, among others.

    Earlier, the PERC classified the Philippines as among the countries in Asia — along with Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand –where “corruption is becoming less serious” as against countries that are “most corrupt.”

    PERC coordinates a team of researchers and analysts in the ASEAN countries, Greater China and South Korea. Some of the world’s leading corporations and financial institutions regularly use PERC’s services to assess key trends and critical issues shaping the region, to identify growth opportunities, and to develop effective strategies for capitalizing on these opportunities.

    (from OPS website dated 17 March 2003)

  10. DJB

    MB,

    What do you have against the schoolchildren of Natonin, Mt. Province, or the widows of Inopacan, Leyte, or Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (who services them both with Globe cell sites?

    Don’t they have human rights too, like the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness through texting, education, and breathing?

    Is it only the extortionist NPA that deserves your protection of their rights to burn down school buildings when Igorots refuse to give them nonexistent funds? Their right to paranoically murder their own comrades suspected of being DPAs? their right to propagandize and mobilize in urban poor communities that they consider their territory?

    Every law, believe it or not, is the curtailment of some freedom abused by one group of citizens so as to protect the rights of another group of citizens.

    Every law can be abused. Your argument seems to be that this law (HSA2007) WILL be abused.

    Since your argument is one of prediction, it is unassailable. All I can promise you now is that those schoolchildren and those widows and I will be with you at the barricades, should your prescience prove to be right.

    As for Magsaysay, how easily we forget the
    “Chickenhawks” that were behind him, too, like one Colonel Landsdale and the CIA.

  11. inidoro ni emilie

    benj,

    is the comelec allowed to do that? posting birthdays, addresses and all? shouldn’t this be done in barangay level?

  12. DJB

    As predicted, Satur Ocampo is flouting the Rule of Law and will not surrender despite a Warrant of Arrest issued by a Regional Trial Court.

    And of course, the Philippine Daily Innuendo (PDI) insults everybody’s intelligence by headlining his YouTube video as testimony before the US Senate. What a big fat lie! What a big fat laugh!

    He was never invited and I am glad to see that YouTube’s automatic search for related videos turns up Joma Sison’s video confirming what everybody already knows–the NDF is the umbrella organization for Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis and the League of Filipino Students. Even if the vast majority of members and supporters of these groups are not in the CPP NPA, it’s leaders almost surely are.

    Knowing full well how damning the evidence of their Killing Fields can be, the CPP NPA has gotten Bobbie Malay (also a CPP Central Committee member in the past if not the present, along with Satur) and the wives of others on the Court ordered warrants of arrest, to put out that ludicrous “desperate wives” statement, which is an insult to the widows and surviving relatives of those they allegedly murdered in Inopacan, Leyte.

    Inupakan nila noon, niyuyurakan nila ngayon!

  13. cvj

    As for Magsaysay, how easily we forget the “Chickenhawks” that were behind him, too, like one Colonel Landsdale and the CIA. – DJB

    Look’s like they don’t make chickenhawks like they used to.

  14. UPn student

    mb… if you carry this statement to its extreme;
    “…If this government, with all the laws currently in the books, still cannot prevent, capture, and defeat muslim and CPP-NPA terrorists then the solution is to replace this government with one that can, without asking us to surrender our basic rights.”

    then you will want Russia (unable to defeat Chechnya separatists), Thailand (Muslim separatists), USA, England (muslim terrorists), France (Muslim terrorists), Belgium (rightist separatists), and many others to dissolve.

    I guess you like North Korea (total control); likewise Cuba. Okay… you like Australia (but the aborigines have not yet tried to separate).

  15. UPn student

    MB likes Singapore!!!!!!

  16. UPn student

    Cuba’s constitution is probably what cvj, MB (and Abe Margallo????) wants for the Philippines. Cuba has a government chosen by the people for the people, and elections to prove it. But Fidel Castro is STILL eligible to run in their 2008 elections, and guess who will win that one????

  17. UPn student

    GMA may want what cvj wants… a Cuba-type government for the Philippines with no term limits for the Malacanang-resident…. but in a Castroized-Philippines, Q3 will have to stop blogging and MB, schumey and especially that Rizalist loses internet access.

  18. mlwnag

    There will always be a hidden agenda when a survey is made by UK, Singapore and Hongkong. That is to kill the competition. These countries are pouring their investments to Vietnam. Earlier they promote Thailand. But now they have problems with Thailand after Thaksin has been ousted

    These countries will try to promote countries where they have lots of investments even HIV-Aids infested the country can be.

    Last Sunday, CNN which is based also in Hongkong, run a story on Mindanao “Road to Terrorism”. The story is based on interviews of three men. But the previews seems that every part of the country is at seige. There not a portion where there is an encounter shown.

    Three months ago, another UK survey group Transparency International put us again in the bottom of the list. The country which is on top is always Hongkong and Singapore.

    These countries do not want us to grow and prosper!!! They want us to be controlled just like in the days of Cory and Erap.

  19. Jeg

    mb did say “…without asking us to surrender our basic rights.” So mb doesnt want Cuba. Such a country that mb wants I think doesnt exist and we would have to create one here if it’s possible.

  20. UPn student

    Jeg… are you saying that the Cubans now living in Cuba have surrendered some of the basic rights? I believe that the Ca t had said that, but a few of the Ca t’s statements are heresy to other people’s ears.

  21. manuelbuencamino

    DJB,

    “What do you have against the schoolchildren of Natonin, Mt. Province, or the widows of Inopacan, Leyte, or Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (who services them both with Globe cell sites?
    Don’t they have human rights too, like the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness through texting, education, and breathing?”

    Nothing. I condemn both the CPP-NPA and the security services. I am against the Anti-Terror Law because it is about winning dirty. It is dirty pool. I want to see Joma and his cohorts defeated. But defeated by homorable men who fight clean. That’s all.

    “Since your argument is one of prediction, it is unassailabl”

    I am not predicting anything. It is already happening. It has happened. There is already a climate of impunity.

    Tell me how will the Anti-Terror Law decrease human rights abuses like salvagings and torture?

    Oh I forgot, of course it will eliminate abductions because those will be legal under the law.

  22. manuelbuencamino

    UPn student,

    You seem to be very well-versed in American literature on Cuba.

    But when you do use someone’s statements against them. make sure you take in the whole thing. Because if you did then you will notice that the countries you used as examples have, in one way or another, sacrificed basic liberties in the war against terror. Read the US Patriot Act if you have time and see if you can find how much of America’s original bill of rights survived it.

    Which brings us to Jeg’s comment – “Such a country that mb wants I think doesnt exist and we would have to create one here if it’s possible.” – That kind of country is the ideal we want for ourselves isn’t it?

    Let us not allow an aging megalomaniac from the Netherlands to terrorize us into becoming barbarians like him.

  23. DJB

    MB,
    Tell me, have the laws against murder, rape and robbery eliminated murderers, rapists and robbers? No, but according to your logic we should repeal those laws too.

    Passing a law doesn’t guarantee it will be obeyed. In fact, that is why we need the Law, so we can punish those who will harm innocents whether or not that law exists, and prevent their evil deeds by putting them in jail.

    HSA 2007 has NOT however abrogated the eternal principle that every man is innocent until proven guilty. So why is this law “fighting dirty”. Seems to me it’s the people like Satur who won’t admit they actually support the armed struggle that are fighting dirty. It’s people like Joma who claims millions of followers, yet there isn’t a single one of them who will admit in public that they are his minions.

    Who’s really fighting dirty?

  24. Jeg

    are you saying that the Cubans now living in Cuba have surrendered some of the basic rights? I believe that the Ca t had said that, but a few of the Ca t’s statements are heresy to other people’s ears.

    ‘Surrendered’ means they gave it up voluntarily. I wouldnt know about that. More likely it’s just not given to them in the first place. And those who claim some rights for themselves are hauled off to prison. 😉

  25. hvrds

    It’s the process stupid!

    Facism of the left or the right is still facism.

    The Marcos-Enrile tandem were never taken to task for their human rights violations during the dictatorship of the right. There is nothing probable about those years.

    However the government has failed to properly document and investigate the killing fields of the left which has happened. Books have been written about it. Government chose to ignore it.

    That is the responsibility of an effective state. They instead have made it the basis for a PR campaign and have debased the victims of the purges to try to deflect their problems with the extra judicial killings.

    Our folksy and feel good facists and jihadists forget that the reason the Europeans established the International Criminal Court was precisely for crimes against humanity to be investigated and prosecuted. These are not ordinary crimes.

    Our friendly jihadist forgets that till today Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic (your friendly Serbian jihadists) are still in hiding for their exploits in the civil war in post Yugoslavia. Croats, Bosnians (your favorite enemies the Muslims), and the Serbs were all put to task for their excellent samples of species annihilation that our friendly jihadist calls for together with some officials of government and military in this country.

    Giving that kind of government pre-emptive power to arrest people without prior judicial review is a throwback to the notorius ASSO of Marcos – Enrile infamy. That is the major flaw of the Anti-Terror Bill.

    However that type of evolved state (enlightened citizenry) presupposes an evolved citizenry that have gone past the bloodlust of previous times. Unfortunately history teaches us that countries must go through the blood lust.

    The issue of Satur is about due process and not the fact that he represents an extreme leftist position.

    Once again the GMA government has destroyed an opportunity for delivering justice by destroying the process.

    The issue of institutions is about establishing the process. It is not simply a PR game.

    Everyone talks about the rule of law but the substance of that is the process.

    Why is no one defending the right to due process? That is the the issue!!!!!!

    In the present climate who is to deliver on this?

  26. manuelbuencamino

    DJB,

    “Tell me, have the laws against murder, rape and robbery eliminated murderers, rapists and robbers? No, but according to your logic we should repeal those laws too.”

    Straw man! I don’t use that tactic. I wouldn’t dare challenge neocons on the use of strawmen and putting words into other people’s mouths.

    I said the Anti-Terror law provides cover for human rights abuses. And i said that because,despite your claim – “the eternal principle that every man is innocent until proven guilty”- the law allows detention on mere suspicion of membership in certain designated terrorist groups or mere suspicion that someone is about to externalize a private thought.

    If the security forces plan to use the law properly, to fight clean as it were, why do they want the fine on unlawful detention reduced?

    You are fighting dirty. And winning dirty is no victory at all.

  27. cvj

    Cuba’s constitution is probably what cvj, MB (and Abe Margallo????) wants for the Philippines. – UPn Student

    I do not remember reading the Cuban Constitution so i cannot tell whether i like it or not. Certainly, i am against one party government whether by the Communists, or Arroyo’s Elitists. Since the main enemy of Democracy is War, Arroyo’s actions (as endorsed by DJB), brings us closer to both.

  28. UPn student

    When all is said and done, the following script will probably hold:
    (1) Firstly, the Anti-Terror Law is already signed-sealed-and-delivered, so it is the law because of Jamby Madrigal and Mar Roxas organizational skills;
    (2) There will live-actual-experiences with this law. For all we know, this GMA-administration is so old-fashioned that they will use old laws, not this new law, when it deals with law-and-order issues. Notice that the arrest-warrant for Satur is per features of old laws, not this MB-hates-this-law thing;
    (3) Congress gets elected and re-elected and maybe Purple Phoenix and iloiloboy gets to experience the new-Anti-Terror-Law to where they join MB against it (or maybe MB gets to like the new law after all);
    (4) Modifications to the Anti-Terror-Law gets put in place.

  29. UPn student

    Fearless forecast : GMA will have left Malacanang already, and this new law still remains on the books, even the “vacation-feature” where the law is not-operative around elections.

  30. Lynn

    benj :

    The COMELEC just made stalking easier

    http://www.comelecncr.com/ALPHA_INDEX.htm

    Happily, the PDFs don’t work. But how irresponsible of COMELEC to publish this.

  31. The Ca t

    the Ca t’s statements are heresy to other people’s ears.

    hahaha, I like that. I am a heretic. In my previous life, I must have been burned at stake because I did not believe that the world is round because it would defy the Genesis.

  32. UPn student

    Interesting article:
    “Poverty : Prime Enemy of Peace and Democracy”

    http://www.gppac.net/documents/pbp/intros/a5_pover.htm

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