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Sep 24

I’m leaving on a jet plane… Not!

Update 8:34 pm (heard on the road around 7 pm) Arroyo changes mind, ‘advises’ Neri to attend NBN hearing. The end of a long day of official flip-flopping!

Update 6:28 pm: Senate to subpoena Neri to attend NBN probe next week . I think the Senate’s let him slip through their fingers on this one.

Update 5:29 pm: guess who just filed a new impeachment rap?

Ta-da! Oliver Lozano.

***

Over the weekend a source described the situation between the President and the Speaker like this. It’s like Defcon 3, the source said. The missiles are fueled and primed, the launch codes have been brought out and authorized, but neither side has pressed the launch button. The papers report that an initial effort to topple the Speaker failed.

Wednesday’s Senate hearing showed every sign of being the launch-button-pressing event.

In his blog, Ricky Carandang reported on the hastily-called press conference last Saturday, where two cabinet secretaries announced that the ZTE and the CyberEd deals had been suspended. And why a sudden reversal of the official position was called for:

Some inquiring minds think that the suspension was actually prompted by Arroyo watching Romulo Neri on TV last night vowing to tell all he knows about the NBN deal. The argument is that now that the deal has been suspended, we can all “move on”and there’s no need for Neri to appear before the senate anymore. I can already imagine the chorus of the “let’s move on” crowd filling the columns of newspapers and blogs and airwaves of TV and radio stations. I anticipate Joker Arroyo saying on Wednesday that since the project has been suspended, there is no need to investigate the matter further and therefore we can let sleeping dogs lie. It’s a win-win solution. The opposition can claim victory by blocking another DOTC white elephant, no one goes after Abalos and Mike Arroyo anymore and Joe De Venecia remains Speaker…for now. Of course there are some loose ends. Joey De Venecia is hung out to dry, and if his allgations are true, someone forfeits their $200 commission, and Abalos will have to find some way to return the “monies”already advanced by ZTE, or the generals will break his kneecaps.

Carandang’s opinion, in a comment in his own blog, makes for a compelling analysis:

Personally, I don’t think this will lead to Gloria’s premature removal from office. Aside from having no hope that Congress will ever impeach her, I think too many of the elite cliques would oppose it at this late hour. With three years to go before she (presumably) steps down, her removal would intoduce a new element of uncertainty’a Noli de Castro presidency. By 2010, having tasted power for three years, Noli may want more and may resort to the same machinations to hold onto power as his predecessor. That in turn could usher in another prolonged period of political intramurals among the elites. Add to that the fact that Noli, like Erap,is considered by the establsihment to be an unacceptable outsider.

What I see happening at this point is that all the accumulated evidence of wrongdoing will be used against Gloria and her accomplices after she is made to stepdown in 2010 and face a plunder/economic sabotage/multiple murder/crimes against humanity/ case before the Judiciary.

But the clumsy, heavy-handed actions of the Palace over the weekend has only intensified demands for the hearing (while BusinessWorld reports the President and her husband’s ratings have dipped). See last Sunday’s Inquirer editorial and today’s Inquirer editorial. Interest in what former NEDA chief Romulo Neri has to say, is particularly keen. In his column, today, Jarius Bondoc says Neri could possibly not only implicate the President herself (see the Newsbreak article from September 10, PCIJ’s primer on ZTE, as well as GmaNews.tv’s scoop: Cabinet split on cost, benefits of NBN, overlap with CyberEd), but a prominent businessman:

Romy then rattled off many things he knew about the events leading to the scheduled signing of Apr. 21. I later learned that he had told at least three of our common friends the same things.

Some of the items have since been reported in broadcast and print. There was a supposed invitation from COMELEC chief Benjamin Abalos to golf at the Wack Wack Country Club, during which Romy was offered P200 million to support ZTE. As the story goes, Romy turned down and told President Arroyo about the indecent proposal. Whereupon, she instructed him to not accept the bribe but ensure the NEDA approvals just the same. Romy has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Only God and Romy know if under oath he would confirm or deny the other items. I pray that he expound on them. He had told me on that morning of Apr. 20 and several other times that not only a COMELEC official but an influential businessman too was inordinately lobbying for ZTE Corp. The businessman allegedly was responsible for the sudden rise of the ZTE tag price to $330 million days before the signing, when its original offer in Dec. to Feb. was $262 million. What was the $68-million difference for, I asked in subsequent talks. Romy said the businessman was assigned to raise campaign funds for an administration party during the last election.

I would understand if Romy balks in identifying the businessman. In a previous cocktail party at the residence of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., he said, that man had cornered and threatened him for opposing a fishy pier project. That man reportedly also worked on Romy’s consequent transfer from NEDA to the Commission on Higher Education.

Romy in our talks implicated most of the persons Joey de Venecia has exposed under oath as thieving from the broadband purchase. But I get the impression that Romy knows much more than the heroic whistleblower who initially was bidding for the telecom project.

About ZTE executives, Romy also said he has never seen any group as aggressive as them in pushing for a contract. They were waiting outside the NEDA conference room while the Cabinet was deliberating about them.

More importantly, Romy said a very powerful official arm-twisted him to turn the broadband project from a safe build-operate-transfer plan to a risky outright supply purchase. It was for that reason, he told me on Apr. 20, that he almost resigned from the Cabinet the day before.

And yet, in the face of increased public interest, it seemed that the President’s only option would be to invoke EO 464 and forbid executive officials from appearing.

But that would solidify negative public perceptions of the President. But there seemed no other option: better people coming to sinister conclusions rather than solid testimony made under oath.

Then, this morning, a pretty breathtaking example of Marcosian jujitsu.

The President leaves for New York tomorrow, and it’s being widely discussed that among her entourage will be Romulo Neri. (update, 1:235 pmPresident asks Neri to take US trip with her–reports. There you go!

(update 2:10 pmNeri: DFA ‘advised’ me to go with President:

Romulo Neri, ex-economic planning secretary, and a key resource person in the national broadband network contract between the government and the ZTE Corp. of China, has disclosed that he was “advised”to accompany President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the United States this week.

Neri, who was at the House of Representatives for a budget hearing Monday, issued the statement in response to a question by Bayan Muna Congressman Teodoro CasiÑo on whether he would go with the President in her US trip.

“It’s a possibility,”said Neri and said that he had been “advised” by the Department of Foreign Affairs to go to the US where the President is expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

But before the budget hearing, Neri told INQUIRER.net that he would still have to think about whether to accept the invitation as he has agreed to attend the Senate investigation on the NBN project this Wednesday.

(update 3:40 pm):

“I have been advised by the DFA that I may be needed to help in the Millenium Development Challenge,”said Neri Monday, responding to Cagayan Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s question about his impending US trip.

“The President is my superior…I guess, if instructed to go and it’s a legal order, I may have to follow it,”said Neri who attended the budget hearing at the House of Representatives.

But at the same time, Neri said he would “come back in time.” “As I’ve said I’ve promised to attend [the Senate investigation].”

The question then becomes whether Neri is a free agent or not, at this point: if he’s a captive, he will bundled onto the presidential plane. If he is partially free, he can wriggle out of the trip and stay for the Senate hearing: a gambit which may or may not succeed, not least, because it depends on the risks Neri is willing to take.

Or, if it’s just a propaganda effort to deflate the ballooning effort to cheer Neri on.

My column today, Heroic leadership, suggests why Neri should be prepared to testify even at the risk of disobeying the President (I also quoted from this article by Matthew Mehan on St. Thomas More). There are even those, like blogger Uniffors, who are calling on Neri to live up to his Ateneo principles.

A few days ago, Solita Monsod said, in her column, that she believed Joey de Venecia (I Set No Corner agrees). She also used a term that I found interesting: a scorched-earth campaign is under way, she said, against critics of the NBN deal. But I‘d pointed out scorched-earth governance has been the style of the Palace for some years now. Just how scorched-earth? Read Tony Abaya describe how his writing a column skeptical of the ZTE deal triggered a negative in Enrique Razon’s paper -the same paper Abaya writes for:

So, between 12:23 pm when I emailed the article to Manila Standard Today, and 1:30 pm, or a little over an hour later, someone in Malacanang had concocted this story about how Joey de Venecia ‘ whom I had never met in my entire life – had been talking to me to destroy the credibility of the ZTE Corp.

This is all the more surprising since this article ‘A-B-Z-T-E-F-G ‘ did not see print until the next day, Sept. 20. And it was not sent electronically to my distribution list until 8:51 pm of Sept. 19.

So the only copy of that article that the Malacanang source could have possibly seen was the copy that was sent by email to Manila Standard Today. Either someone in the newspaper office forwarded it to Malacanang, which I doubt, or “intelligence agents”wire-tapped the cable lines of my computer, which is more likely.

(I first became aware of my computer being wire-tapped in July 2005, but that’s another story for another day.)

In the blogosphere, Yugatech’s entry made news: Filipino bloggers frustrated with NBN Senate investigation (would they agree or disagree with Patricia Evangelista, too?). In Newsstand, John Nery says he wasn’t satisfied with the way the senators conducted their questioning. A Nagueno in the Blogosphere calls the deal a “Frankenstein project.” Slap Happy simply isn’t surprised.

New Philippine Revolution has an interesting take on things, similar thoughts expressed in Ya Basta de Disparates. I wonder though, if, as the blogger (NPR) asserts, Sec. Leandro Mendoza is “clean.” There was a point during the last Senate hearing, when senators seemed like they were trying to pin him down on the question of whether an executive agreement existed or not. Mendoza said, no executive agreement existed. The Q&A hinged on what Mendoza tried to pass off as ungrammatical English on the part of the lawyer who wrote the contract with ZTE.:

7:26 Legarda: Is there an executive agreement or not?

M: Not yet. It’s still in process.

L: Even if the supply contract says there was an executive agreement signed?

M: This was explained by the one who wrote the contract, this may be explained by maybe there was some error…Uh, well, if the other party thinks it’s OK…

L: There is an admission by the executive that there was an error in which the document was drafted and signed?

M: Well, no, the executive agreement is under process…

(continued debate on “is”and “was”and differences in terms of English usage; Mendoza insists lawyer said intent of document was clear to both parties; Mendoza says there are many angles; government thinks, though, best angle to pursue is the Supreme Court, they will follow the rule of law…

I wonder though: what if Mendoza perjured himself? Which is the easier, and thus, more likely explanation? Poor English skills or, that the document was referring, indeed, to an existing executive agreement?

In his blog, Karl Garcia says, take a second look at Abaya vs. Ebdane. See Manila Bay Watch and big mango, too.

 

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  1. leah

    ROTC was not abolished, it was just made voluntary in 2001.
    there are still (using Jinggoy’s figures) 80,000 taking ROTC every year. according to the US military there are 46,000 plus ROTC cadets as of 2005.(not even the 55,000 I mentioned before) and it can’t vary much by now.
    millions effected-mandatory ROTC would increase the cost and risk of every college student, male and female. and their parents. so by 2010 this could easily be in the millions.
    if the USA can get by with 46,000 then why would we need 500,000?

    ROTC numbers going down
    By JAMES W. CRAWLEY
    Media General News Service
    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    WASHINGTON – More bad news for the Pentagon.
    Its recruiting troubles have reached the officer ranks.
    The number of college students who enroll in the ROTC and later become officers is down.
    Enrollment in Army ROTC – the Army’s largest source of new officers – has plunged 21 percent since 2002. The Army will fail to meet its goal of commissioning 4,500 new second lieutenants from ROTC next year and, possibly, the year after, said the general in charge of cadets.
    Some defense analysts say it’s another sign the military has become overextended by the war in Iraq.
    Some ROTC officials worry the war is sending the wrong message to college students: Don’t join the military.
    With ROTC providing nearly 70 percent of the Army’s new officers, fewer second lieutenants – who typically command platoons – could mean younger officers will spend more time in the war zone.
    The ROTC shortfall comes as the Army is struggling with its failure to meet annual enlisted recruiting goals, as it needs men and women to fill its ranks for repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    And, next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether military recruiters can be blocked from college campuses.
    Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs are on college campuses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The Army, Air Force and Navy, which also commissions Marine officers, run separate programs. Total enrollment is currently 46,405. It peaked in 2003 at more than 55,000 students.
    Reserve officer training is a misnomer.
    By far, ROTC is the Pentagon’s largest producer of active-duty officers, surpassing the military academies and officer schools. After ROTC students graduate, they are commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns. This year, the military commissioned 7,617 graduates from ROTC programs.
    Air Force and Navy ROTC also have posted enrollment declines for the past two years, but officials say their services are intentionally downsizing.
    The Army ROTC shortfall follows a post-9/11 surge of patriotism that boosted enrollment to more than 31,750 in November 2003. New officer commissions rose to 4,408 in May 2004.
    By this fall, enrollment had fallen to 25,086. And, commissions last spring dropped to 4,178.
    The Army Cadet Command’s leader, Maj. Gen. Montague Winfield, blamed the enrollment drop on the war and other reasons.
    While college students continue to want to serve their country, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has had a negative impact on enrollments, Winfield acknowledged.
    “There are ‘influencers’ out there who don’t want their children (going to war),” Winfield said, using a military recruiting term for parents.
    While none of the students who have dropped ROTC in recent years has mentioned the war as the reason, Col. Hampton Hite at the University of Virginia said, “My guess is, yes, the war is a factor.”
    The war has deterred students from signing up, said David Axe, a Charleston, S.C., journalist whose forthcoming book, “Army 101,” chronicles ROTC.
    “I’ve talked to several students (at the University of South Carolina) who dropped out of ROTC because they didn’t want to fight in the war,” he said.
    Winfield also pointed to grade requirements, physical fitness standards and health issues as hurting ROTC enrollment.
    “Gen Y tends to be heavier … a lot of young people still have their baby fat. But, we work with them (to get them leaner),” he added.
    Some of the Army’s problems are self-inflicted.
    After overspending its financial aid budget, the Army has cut back on scholarships. And, the Army is trying to target minorities and students with better grades.
    Despite the downward trend in new officers, Winfield said ROTC surpassed its commissioning goals for three years in a row, post 9/11.
    He predicted ROTC units would produce 3,900 officers next year – the smallest group in four years.
    To take up the slack, the Army plans to recruit and train more college graduates in officer candidate school. Also, the Army hopes to sign up more students before their junior year for an accelerated two-year ROTC program and will offer larger financial incentives.
    But, Winfield added, the shortfall will take time to erase.
    Because ROTC students must complete college before becoming military officers, any increase or decrease in enrollment takes years before it affects the officer ranks.
    “Our ‘flash to bang’ is two to four years,” the general said, using the analogy of lightning – seeing the bolt of lightning and hearing the thunderclap.
    Declining college ROTC enrollment is not the Pentagon’s only crisis. The war’s drain on money, equipment and manpower is lining up the military for an “imminent train wreck,” said Axe.

  2. Manila Bay Watch

    Leah,

    If that is the case, then it seems to me that compulsory ROTC is important, don’t you think? Why should this anger millions? Nation must face the fact that it that defence is bulwark of independence.

  3. Manila Bay Watch

    Karl,

    “all driver bodyguards,assigned…”

    Good suggestion! Maybe they can replace Esperon and his fellow so-called generals who are wimps! Our bunch of generals today are really useless anyway.

  4. leah

    compulsory ROTC is ridiculous. we do not need an army reserve bigger than America or China.

    if all the college students have to waste time and pesos of course they will be angry, as will their parents.
    It serves no military purpose. Not 500,000 a year just marching with plastic rifles. the cost in uniforms, doctors excuses, bribes, snacks etc will be in the billions.

    and the elite will just send their children and grandchildren to the USA, as Ople did at the same time he wanted ROTC for everyone else

  5. Manila Bay Watch

    Leah,

    Best thing to do is to do some kind of referendum in school, targeting parents and children.

  6. Primer C. Pagunuran

    ABZTEFG – deal or no deal?

    The real good thing about our indicatively damaged psyche, come to think of it, is that the senators, as the Senate now took cognizance of the infamous AB-ZTE-FG scam, behave in such a misbehaving way – projecting themselves as cordial, objective, impartial, unknowing – just when it is not the time and place to do so. If these early signs were any indication, it sets the stage for a final committee report that would, in effect, absolve Abalos, Benjamin; ZTE: and first and foremost, First Gentleman. When this happens, the whole exercise is one of gross futility and not surprisingly enough since as always, Malacanang’s “hatchet men” in the Senate (Enrile, Angara, Santiago) will always bid orders of GMA, their most favored patron. So what else is new?

    A ZTE project that would cost the Philippine government $329 million is said to be overpriced by as much as $130 million – a reason valid enough why the young JDV cried wolf or turned sour grape when Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. lost in a bidding that never really took place. The accusing finger, it now appears, points to COMELEC Chairman Abalos as the broker. No less than DOTC Secretary Mendoza ought to be as badly implicated as signatory to a supposed-to-be contract or memorandum of understanding, as witnessed by GMA herself. Key government officials appear to have their hands tied on a string at the end of which shows us First Gentleman as the one pulling it. Did not the young JDV tell us that FG threw to his face the words – “back off!” – when Abalos, Mendoza, even Teves, and no less than FG all met in a small air-conditioned room in Wack Wack? Truly, this wacky sum of $329 million – now cast in public view – ought to be looked into.

    Ironically enough, the just recently decided case of plunder of Erap dwarfs in comparison to this AB-ZTE-FG, a National Broadband Network project where high public officials may have been possibly involved, directly or indirectly. There are clear indications that there were efforts to do away with the normal bidding requirements for this broadband cyber-backbone project that would connect the entire Philippine government structure – digitally. And if Lacson’s claims be proved true, there were bribes to this person or that by the project proponent ZTE. Certainly, JDV III is said to have been offered $10 million likewise to withdraw any interest in the project except that he has to spill the beans, matter-of-factly.

    Problem is, a viewing universe will have to be glued in their TV sets to monitor developments on this full-dressed investigation until the whole zarzuela is brought to a vote where predictably, the tyranny of numbers is king. At the end of the day, senators will simply tell us, some rules and regulations have been violated, albeit, not intentionally or with any obvious criminal intent to defraud the government. They will tell us that there were no public monies actually spent at any stage of this transaction and that in fact, had the contract been allowed to be perfected, it would have redounded to the highest public good (summum bonum).

    Malacanang’s skilled propagandists have always proven themselves to be reliable cleansing agents. They will turn the table on the young JDV labeling him as sour-graping, hallucinating and all that. Unwittingly, the young JDV may have pushed his father to the wall or why indeed should a person like him bear any interest in big-time government deals such as an NBN project? The old JDV should not have permitted his young son to ever get involved into projects such as these as it would, implicitly and explicitly, indicate some personal interests to derive kickbacks, commissions, rebates, whatever soon as a project is sealed with approval.

    Funny but true, there seems to be no document to be examined since the very contract or MOA itself is said to have been lost in a hotel in China by you know who. How good can the Senate really lay the brick one upon another if the bricks are no longer there in the first place? No one anyway seriously believes that anything can really come up in this deceiving Senate investigation. It will be the height of naivety to even start to believe that anyone will soon be impeached, imprisoned, fined, or penalized. In the final analysis, what we are witnessing is a grand zarzuela laid before our eyes as someone pulls the rugs from under our feet. JDV III has just launched a sure senatorial bid come 2010. He will have my vote – no guts, no glory.

  7. Primer C. Pagunuran

    Batasan blast – what’s this?

    JDV was uncharacteristically too quick to point the accusing finger to terrorists or anarchists right after a bomb that exploded at the South Wing Entrance of the Batasan killed three, badly wounded other individuals, destroyed cars and government property.

    GMA, on the other hand, appeared on national TV to caution against those spreading unverified claims as to who the culprit is to this rather bastard act of cowardice as she promised to go at the bottom of things on this incident.

    DILG chief likewise theorized, albeit prematurely, that the blast was directed to Congressman Akbar as some weeks before this incident, there had been intelligence reports of an assassination plot. If it were something known to the DILG chief beforehand, had there been enough precautionary measures taken as would have precluded this bomb explosion right at the home-front?

    PNP chief claimed to have known the owners of the two-motorcycles that were suspected as the bomb carriers, parked as they were near the casualties’ cars. The post-blast operatives appear rather too slow to make public its findings on what kind of explosive materials may have set off this tragic blast.

    Against this backdrop, one might ask – what is happening to this country, Madame President? Is this not part of a larger scenario that would set the stage for a military regime? Could this not be the work of media genius to deflect public attention from the more mundane societal issues to the less?

    Tri-media (TV, radio, print, electronic), as usual, now train their focus on this event as though the recent Glorietta bombing and the fatal vehicular accident that killed Atty. Saguisag’s wife have now become less of media value. The Congress’ payola, more importantly, has been hidden from public view. This turn-to-to-the-next-page practice in news reportage is really beyond comprehension.

    Batasan blast and that of Glorietta really share a lot in common. In both, the cause of the explosion is not known till now. The perpetrators, likewise, are yet to be identified. The extent of possible damage of such explosions is basically the same – more casualties with more people, less with less. Versions, coming from independent sources, conflict with one another.

    A viewing universe is at a lost – awaits only the more official theory on all these. Is there an emerging pattern of more explosions that would kill or harm target personalities, inflict death or injury to innocent people, create damage to private or public properties, sow chaos, intrigue, and all that? Are there paid mercenaries to pull al these tricks from their dirty departments?

    Come to think of it, the blast inside the very premises of the Batasan Complex is not one that could normally be undertaken without being nipped in the bud. And this one, escaped notice. What is this? Even veteran coup plotters are not about the group that can launch such kind of an attack – right at the heart of Batasan. How then did it happen?

    The assassination theory is a self-contradictory claim given that the radius of possible damage the explosion would cause is illogically too large. It is shotgun approach – and as such, could not have been directed toward a particular target. The theory of motorcycle bombs is an untenable one even highly stupid given that motorcycle riders are vulnerable to checkpoints. To blame the “tiangge” is another scapegoat to provide alibi for a possible serious security lapse.

    In the higher scheme of things, it just might be a political statement. It takes away from our collective consciousness the otherwise fresh but issues of overriding importance at this point in time. The move on whether to unseat JDV for some indicative involvement in the issue of payola shall be automatically shelved for now. The equally pressing move to push the impeachment case against GMA will have to placed in the back burner in favor of what is neatly and skillfully projected as a better option given this series of explosions.

    How indeed the Batasan blast was caused by motorcycle bombs when there were no footages at all of a single motorcycle torn into pieces? Why did the PNP remove all the fallen debris, flashed down with water nearly everything that should have been preserved as crucial evidence? The assassin would again be a fall guy just to close this page in history, pray tell.

  8. Primer C. Pagunuran

    JDV out – another with a different collar

    JDV’s almost theatrical 59-minute rhetoric, served public notice that he stood trial – and pleaded guilty as charged, matter-of-factly. Keen observers of trends know where the man is coming from – trying even a last-ditch effort – to free his head off the noose. Blackmail, call it that, for the first and final act, against the president of this damned republic. It was time for the man that left a legacy only best known to him – to go. Or ask anyone in the know what monstrous scenario he has created in an institution called the House of Representatives as its supposed-to-be mere agency head. JDV projected himself as bigger than the institution he represents when in truth and in fact, no part ought to be bigger than the whole. Thus, he probably overdid the state of affairs of what ought to be a sacred institution in so far as the officials and employees are concerned and more so in so far as the historic role of a Legislature is taken into account.

    The vote configuration betrayed the man who thought he has all the Batasan for himself – as new set of congressmen and women mixed with the old set in what Pichay always referred to as the ‘Old Boys Club’. Now, there must be any given number of his colleagues – old or new – who rebelled against JDV’s own self-fulfilling prophecy not to mention antics that have already lost their spell or hypnotic effect. Ironically how many editors, political analysts, and even scholars ever thought of JDV as the consummate statesman – as such perception rests on a mistake. It is not just Malacanang that benefited more with his ouster – the Filipino people in general. The anomaly that is JDV is soon a thing of the past or how indeed can he seat as speaker for three consecutive terms when each time a new Congress opens, every member is deemed on equal footing – no such thing as primus inter pares. In other words, he is the author of a grand historical blunder and good thing this Gorgian knot is finally cut that no more tradition as bad as that JDV authored be repeated in history.

    Public perception of JDV is limited to what we read in newspapers, hear over radio, watch on TV, view on the net. All these were created to be false by the man himself who writes his own press release, his own oratory, his own place in history. History should be objective but when he came, he made it purely subjective as though everything that happens in the country, every issue that burns in the day, every hope left for the entire people – gravitates around his well-designed image as a great political leader of the times. Not anymore as his long oratory or rhetoric gave the man away – JDV – in real than in reel, has become more of himself. Now that he has to subordinate himself to the new leadership he himself apparently anointed – good or bad – not much shall be heard of him. He shall resigned himself to oblivion – the sooner the better – that no more of him is heard, not his idea – if it ever was a bright one anyway. His chronic reference to all his accomplishments – spoken from the first point of view, that is – really is an insult to intelligence. Now he fall in his own snake pit.

    JDV’s successor, albeit his protégé, does not have to test the waters any longer. Problem is, our fate and future might still be more of the same as they both came from the same breed of what Salonga conveniently calls ‘traditional politicians’ and its negative slant. Spin doctors, damage control experts, media handlers need not do a lot of dishing in or dishing out. The same menu will be served to the public at large with no perceptible change in flavor detected from any distance from the frying pan. As a people or as a country, Nograles doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Creeping patronage politics as that discussed by Brillantes of UP will be the norm than the exception. If we go by B.F. Skinner’s psychoanalysis, we shall find out in no time at all, that anybody driven by the same set of stimuli will respond in the same particular way as that demonstrated by the old occupant for three punishing terms or the man called JDV. Thus, it is not as if ‘payolas’ will be a thing of the past. It is not as if ‘lobby money’ will no longer circulate within the Big League. It is not as if, the Congress will cease to be a Malacanang rubber-stamp.

    PGMA is probably the luckiest president we ever had. And she better has to finish all of her term in office till she really has to go herself – with all the music and trimmings of a well-served term, if we can call it that. Nothing has been proven of all the charges slapped against her to the satisfaction of the High Court. On whether or not the High Court is beholden to her is another story by itself. If the AFP and PNP and even the bureaucracy itself continue to patronize her leadership, so be it – nothing is the matter with that. If coup plotters, destabilizers, or other extremists group cannot inflict the political blow they want to deliver, then so be it. The president is the president under all the harsh conditions that have visited her – past, present, future.

    It would seem that no promising group ever holds promise. No such group can keep up a good fight – not even the so-called ‘bully from the school yard’. Definitely, not Lacson, not Cayetano, not Escudero, not Magdalo. Nobody as no group can boot PGMA out of office except by the tinkerable processes of law. Malacanang knows what buttons to press, its survival kit complete, its lieutenants and sub-alterns trained in politics as it should be better done under existing culture and sub-cultures. PGMA’s core group of advisers are a force to reckon with and they understand their political calculus more than other presidents combined. Who said it was hard for PGMA to boot out JDV from his speakership? It is a walk in the park – so far as PGMA is concerned – no fuss, no fibs. The daughter of the former president knows how to run the affairs of state, albeit – one step forward, two steps backward, if you follow my drift. Fact is, the more she is ‘harassed’, the stronger her stay in power becomes.

    What is in store for the Filipino people?

    PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
    UP Diliman, Quezon City Email: [email protected] Cellphone: 09164985265

  9. f. c. zamora

    sir, this is the first time i visited your blog but i did read some of your issues already in the national paper. i have my cartoon blog and i want to include you in my blogroll. is it ok? thanks in advance and more power.

  10. mlq3

    yes of course, thank you very much.

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