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Sep 27

While Burma burned, Neri turned tail

I’m off to Bacolod, so no blogging for the next few days, I must confess, good riddance to Metro Manila for now. Manila Bay Watch knows why I’m happy to get out of town. As the best headline of yesterday put it, Neri shields Arroyo from ZTE mess, gags self through ‘464’. Exactly.

Yesterday, the crackdown in Burma began. The Guardian published an eyewitness account by a young protester, ‘The middle class are now poor, the poor are destitute’. It also reports Burma bloggers keep one step ahead of junta. A Guardian reporter has been blogging updates, see Burma Protests.

And see the online paper by Burmese exiles, The Irrawaddy News, for updates on the goings-on in Burma.

Meanwhile, Cracks Showing in Burma’s Junta:

Sources say that foreign diplomats are heading for Rangoon, perhaps on a chartered flight, to seek a way out of the worst crisis the country’s ruling military junta has faced since seizing power in 1988 in a bloody crackdown on democracy protesters.There are signs that a diplomatic initiative to find a solution to the crisis in Burma is underway as splits may be developing in the ruling junta.

At least some of the ruling junta’s generals are reported to be “in shock” at the uprising of the nation’s revered clerics. With monks in play, the crisis is worse than the junta could have imagined and some military leaders are reportedly deeply worried that the situation may already be out of hand.

A source informed Asia Sentinel that some regional commanders have sent word to their superiors that they will not attack monks. They will reportedly guarantee the safety of the monks.

The wild card in the crisis is the role of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. The generals despise “the lady,” as she is known, sources say, and some alternative to her may need to be found.

Blogger Bangkok Pundit compares whats going on in Burma to the Philippines in 1986:

Not to go over the top with analogies with the People’s Power movement, but there were two key events at that time (1) the very public defections of 2 key Marcos supporters/advisers Enrile and Ramos which weakened the powers of the state over the citizenry, and (2) the US providing Marcos with an opportunity for a clean break.

On (1), we will have to wait and see whether there are any key defections and this would be a real tipping point. It might not be so public as it was in the Philippines and it might be done in private, but unless there are some defections I can’t see how the people can overcome the state’s monopoly of force. On (2) I support such moves as providing an incentive for a dictator to leave office can help ensure a clean break without much or any bloodshed – something which is being tried in Zimbabwe. Obviously, you need to make sure there is a new government which is democratically elected…

Personally, I hope to God columnist Carmen Pedrosa is rethinking her recent endorsement of those with a collaborationist (and relativist) attitude towards the Junta:

Like other more aware Burmese, he rejects western media’s attempts to simplify its problems. That simplification has misled many to think of Burma as an — isolated country ruled by a military dictatorship; and that the solution is to remove the ruling junta, recognize the election last May 1990 and install National League for Democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi in its place. The ASEAN foreign ministers are equally captive of this kind of thinking and makes for the impatience about the democratization of Burma to give the group a ‘better image.’

How many of those who sat around the ASEAN table, or the larger audience who read newspapers, know for example that Myanmar (Burma) is much more complex than they make of it. Ambassador Thaung Tun speaks for his government and many of his countrymen when he agrees to enshrine human rights in the charter albeit not through a shame and blame rights body. Like a true Asian, Thaung Tun, talks about ‘consultations’ rather than the more Western ‘confrontations’.

Yes, much more complex, indeed, in need of a more pragmatic way forward. Like truncheons and tear gas? Asian values indeed!

Here, at home, no bravery’s to be found. A lot of Dutch courage in official circles, perhaps. The Palace has managed to hold the line and can take a breather. The Philippine Star editorial yesterday was prescient:

Those hoping that Neri would have something more substantive to say Wednesday may be in for a disappointment. If the initial reports are accurate, Neri could provide a direct link between the questionable deal and President Arroyo herself. But Neri has given no indication that he is about to provide the noose for the President’s hanging. He was reportedly set to join the President last night in her trip to New York for the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. But amid the furor generated by news reports identifying members of the presidential delegation, Neri was ordered to stay behind and face the Senate. The man is loyal to his boss, and it is bound to show in his testimony Wednesday.

See Marichu Lambino for a lawyer’s take on what the President has basically had to stipulate. Philippines Without Borders pens an op-ed piece thinks Neri’s part of the whole mess. As Parallel Universe thinks, the plot thickens. Slap Happy seems to think so, too. Postcard Headlines found some humor in the whole thing.

Patsada Karajaw says Neri copped out. I agree. Stella Arnaldo calls him a wimp, who has done institutional damage:

By running away from the truth, Neri has singlehandedly destroyed the credibility of NEDA, a government agency tasked to assess all major government projects and monitor the implementation and use of overseas development assistance. He even allowed his Presidentita to take over its oversight functions. (A text message from a former DG: “Deliberate ‘yan: Destroy NEDA’s oversight function so the plunder agenda would meet no resistance.”) I can imagine the frustration of all the hardworking good people over there.

But Uniffors, who pens an eyewitness account of being at the Senate yesterday, says Neri was a rat:

The little shit hid behind executive privilege all day, refusing to reveal any more than that he reported the bribe offer to Gloria.

I must admit I was too distracted, enjoying too immensely, the skewering of Abalos I did not catch on to Neri immediately.

It was Ping Lacson who finally exposed Neri.

Lacson realized that Neri was not going to budge from his executive privelege position so he offered Neri a way out. If he couldn’t talk because of executive privilege then maybe Bondoc could do it for him, considering that he was a source of many of Bondoc’s information.

So Lacson asked Jarius Bondoc how many times he talked to Neri and if he was willing to reveal what they talked about.

Jarius replied, ‘yes but I have to ask Neri’s permission first.’

Lacson then asked Neri if he would permit Jarius to reveal the contents of their conversations.

Neri replied, ‘I will not grant permission.’

That’s it, I told myself. Neri was sent to rat on Abalos. He didn’t go to the Senate to tell the truth. He went there to throw Abalos to the wolves…

The worst character in any criminal enterprise is the gang member who rats, the one who acts as the pawn to protect the capo de tuti capo by sacrificing another loyal consigliori.

I thought Neri was an eagle. He is a bat. A rat with wings.

If that was too much, console yourself with this puff piece.

This comment in Ricky Carandang’s blog was also shrewd and on the button, I think:

I believe Romy Neri has two things in his mind. He wants to fight corruption and the best way to show it is to expose Abalos. On the other hand he does not want chaos by exposing GMA, he knows that it will trigger street protest, bring down the economy, create a crisis, usher in the uncertainties of a De Castro presidency. Maybe looking at some of the opposition senators he might tell himself “dito ko ba sa mga ito ipagkakatiwala ang katotohanan, they can’t handle the truth”.And maybe if the senators eliciting the truth were Ninoy Aquino, Lorenzo Tanada, Jose “pepe” Diokno, and Jovy Salonga kaninang umaga pa natin alam ang katotohanan.

But nonetheless Romy Neri is not the judge of who deserves the truth. Poor guy, he’s playing God.

So there. Theoretically, there was much to admire in Neri on Regulatory Capture. But he’s been captured and he can’t even say he’s a prisoner of conscience.

You know, a few days ago, Atenean friends forwarded me this picture:

Animo La Salle
The Spelling-challenged.

And fair being fair, I think the LaSallians ought to email all their Ateneo friends this picture:
Gma+Neri
The Integrity-challenged.

Cuz yu ken alwayz larn haw tuh spayl but if yu dunt knoe rayt frum wrowng bah noe, iz two layt.

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348 comments

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  1. Beancurd

    Those 2 pictures would really spice up this afternoon’s Ateneo and La salle basketball game. But you could have added the banana-chomping guy in the second picture to complete the picture of the (banana) republic.

  2. LAPSAPAN

    kung iba ang vice president natin, sa hello garci issue pa lang, wala na sana si GMA. hindi masuportahan ng karamihan ang move na mapatalsik si GMA dahil di tayo sigurado sa ipapalit natin.

    Kung si Loren kaya ang vice?

  3. MOGLI

    The comparison between our own EDSA ’86 and Rangoon ’07 is not without sense, indeed. I agree with the Bangkok Pundit, but only on the first point, that key defections, specifically from the military ranks are needed for the movement to succeed. Whether a major bloodshed will happen or not is however in the sole discretion of the ruling junta, whether they get a clean exit or not. Somehow the success of the EDSA revolution can also be attributed to the decision of Marcos not to disperse the crowd with guns. Alas, Marcos proved to be more humane than the ruling Burmese junta.

  4. cvj

    Have a good break in Bacolod Manolo, you deserve it.

  5. inodoro ni emilie

    i dread cheering for ateneo during the encounter. am afraid when the blue babbler rouses the team to chant the ateneo spelling, it would be spelled as such:

    z-t-e-n-e-o

    [*me cringes in shame*]

  6. tonio

    hee hee hee nice one emilie! though it is rather cringeworthy.

    manolo, fyi wordpress just released to 2.3, you might want to ask your tech people to upgrade. it has a few nice features.

  7. Manuel Guevarra

    what if an ‘existential moment’ happens after the game and ALL march (to EDSA Shrine to protest). That ‘mis-spell’ is subliminal of ‘alsa’ (rise). The Ateneo side might just take the hint (that includes San Jose Seminary & Xavier).

  8. Jeg

    In the second picture, GMA is showing Neri what she’s do to him if he rats her out. “Shee, thish ish your neck. Um!”

    (Enjoy Bacolod, MLQ3.)

  9. pete m.

    mlq3,
    On Romulo Neri’s Moral Dilemna,

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon” Matthew 6:24

    “During the Middle Ages, Mammon was commonly personified as the demon of avarice, richness and injustice.” We can add that lying is implied as included.

    Caught between ‘utang na loob’ for JdV and loyalty to GMA, Romulo Neri chose to satisfy both, and, in so doing, unwittingly and tragically fell to serving Mammon.

    Perhaps the measure of an Atenean is not so much in his ability to avoid a fall but in rising up from it. As mlq3 said, no one is beyond redemption. Neri can still testify in an impeachment hearing of Abalos and of GMA.

  10. Abe N. Margallo

    Neri might not have dropped the bombshell that many were expecting at the Senate investigation of the ZTE affair but he said enough that in other places would have easily brought down far more legitimate governments.

    Firstly, Neri testified to the fact that President Arroyo was made fully aware of an attempted bribery relating to a supposedly government-to-government transaction involving millions of dollars.

    Then, there are indications that the deal could be grossly disadvantageous to the Philippine government, that the supposed briber, a constitutional officer, may have also committed culpable violation of the Constitution, and that certain ZTE officials transgressed Philippine criminal laws. And yet, it appears President Arroyo, as the country’s chief law enforcer, had not actively prevented the tainted deal to be perfected nor had she seen to it that the laws of the land were faithfully executed; on the contrary, the President subsequently gave her approval of the deal, its contamination directly brought to her knowledge notwithstanding.

    For one thing, to avoid the appearance of collusion between Malacañang and Comelec Chairman Abalos, the briber positively identified during the Senate hearing, why did the President, after receiving a credible report from a member of her official family of a probable high crime, not promptly order a lawful entrapment as soon as reasonably possible to prevent one with a corrupt and criminal mind from being in charge of the conduct of the last senatorial elections?

    To say the very least, President Arroyo is as liable as Abalos for another impeachable offense in the nature of betrayal of public trust.

  11. tonio

    impeachment? good luck.

    i don’t know what’s on those complaints lozano filed, but he sure as hell has now blocked any legitimate attempts at impeaching either officer by what he recently did.

    talk about hungry for the limelight. moron.

  12. Jeg

    Abe, GMA has that covered: “After Neri reported to me the bribery attempt, I instructed so-and-so to begin a secret investigation as to who else was involved. Meanwhile, since Neri agreed that the project would be good for the Philippines, I gave the go-ahead. The results of the investigation will be revealed as soon as it is completed.”

  13. Jeg

    Oops, sorry. To be clear, I made that up. I wasnt quoting GMA, but pointing to a possible out.

  14. TDC

    Dear Romy Neri (”Monchichi”):

    No can pressure you to do something against your will unless you have some massive skeletons in your closet!

    I am really curious why you allow Enrique Razon and your Presidentita to bully you over and over again? What do they know about you?

    Monchichi,you can’t fly high with your tail between your legs!

  15. Jeg

    Dear TDC,

    You assume a lot about my will and the so-called pressure you perceive as being brought to bear on it. I dont have skeletons in my closet. What I have is a healthy respect for my life and my desire to continue living it. (The perks of office dont hurt either. Have you golfed at Wack-Wack? I didnt think so.)

    Yours sincerely,
    Monchichi

  16. TDC

    “Sec, may two hundred ka dito (Secretary, you have 200 here),” Neri quoted Abalos as telling him during the third Senate hearing on the controversial deal awarded to China’s ZTE Corp”

    I accuse Abalos of PANDERING,not bribery!!!

    The most basic pandering offense is procuring another person for the purpose of prostitution.

    Daddy Chair:Are you that desperate? Interested in an old wimp like Neri???

  17. TDC

    Dearest Bloggers(particularly Atenistas):

    Pls give me a modicum of respect as Chair of Che!(d)!At least,Daddy Chair gave me some value!(Sec… may two hundred ka dito!)

    Don’t call me Rosie please.

    My President and Enrique Razon both call me “Monchichi!”

    Romy “Monchichi” Neri
    Head of Che!(d)

    ps. I hope we win this afternoon ve La Salle.Sorry,I can’t
    attend… having problems taking out my tail between my legs.hope u understand.ONE BIG fight…

  18. Diego Torres

    How lamentable. What this sick admnistration have in its cabinet including USECs are all thieving wimpy liars . Maybe the sole qualification for getting employed by government.

    After raping our patrimony blind, I saw on TV Arthur Yap announcing the suspension of another China deal worth $1B. A million hectares of land to be leased to the Chinese so they can use these to plant sorghum which they will sell to Filipinos…. I could only throw up….I hope on their faces.

  19. TDC

    “A million hectares of land to be leased to the Chinese so they can use these to plant sorghum which they will sell to Filipinos…. I could only throw up….I hope on their faces.Diego Torres”

    For the first time I agreed with Sen.Honasan.He said in yesterday’s Senate hearing:”This country is becoming a cyber province of CHINA!”

  20. TDC

    For info,my official calling card effective today.

    Romulo “Monchichi” Nery
    Chair of Che!(d)

    Many thanks!

    Romy (Monchichi)

  21. BrianB

    Manolo, relax muna sa Goldenfields.

    These basketball games between Green and Blue are getting on my nerves, but a lot of pretty girls in the bleachers though.

    And I’m getting tired of people impressed with Jesuit education. Read James Joyce. Ateneans are not blue eagles; they are monkey-eating Eagles, and the masses are the monkeys.

  22. TDC

    Please see my new video in You tube!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC6Yei8gApw

    Hope you like it! The hands are those of my tita!

    Remember I love you all very dearly!

    Romy “Monchichi”Nery

  23. BrianB

    @abe margallo,

    Yes, my point exactly yesterday. Many people expect drama. We got enough facts and circumstantial evidence. A secretary told the President the Comelec Chair attempted to bribe him. Isn’t a Secretary supposed to be an extension of the President? At the very least, Abalos should be immediately impeached.

    I’m worried about how low we’ve gotten as a people. Do we need another dead body on the Tarmac? Do we need another Dancing Tessie, another Crying Loren? Ethics has always been a problem in this country, for as long as I have the ability to judge people, not just the lack of ethics of some but also the ignorance about ethics of many.

    Abe is absolutely right. I’m sure Gloria has already lost face international because of Nery’s admission…

  24. tonio

    brian:

    i presume you belong to neither school? neither do i. it’s amusing though these games. not like the ones in the senate.

    (and yes, there are a lot of pretty girls from either school.)

  25. TDC

    “And I’m getting tired of people impressed with Jesuit education. Read James Joyce. Ateneans are not blue eagles; they are monkey-eating Eagles, and the masses are the monkeys.Brian B”

    I agree with you! Something is terribly wrong if the school can produce the likes of Jose Pidal,Jose Velarde,Romy Nery,Ronnie Puno and Joc -Joc Bolante .What happened to all the units of theology?

    (To be fair,don’t forget that Jose Rizal,Ninoy Aquino and Ed Jopson were great Ateneans!)

    Suggestion:Can Monchichi Nery,chair of Ched!d review this issue with the Ateneo?

  26. Ralph Waldo

    Hi Manolo

    Wala bang broadband sa Bacolod? 🙂

  27. BrianB

    “i presume you belong to neither school? neither do i. it’s amusing though these games. not like the ones in the senate.”

    tonio, yes I do.

  28. BrianB

    “Wala bang broadband sa Bacolod?”

    Papahingahin mo naman si MLQ3.

  29. BrianB

    “What happened to all the units of theology?”

    This was actually the easiest subject for me, I don’t know. Didn’t even have to study, though I went to public schools for elementary and high school.

    Roman Catholicism is actually the most sophisticated religion we have. It went through a lot more than any religion, especially politically, and it is refined by the rationalizations of great intellects throughout the centuries. Technically speaking, it’s the most mass-centered religion in the sense that it can save the most people compared to other religions. Buddhism is very elitist. So elitist it’s ridiculous. I’m talking technically, of course.

  30. tonio

    brian:

    what an uncharacteristic attitude. the people around here in the office are whipping themselves into a blue-green frenzy, here two hours from game time.

  31. TDC

    Brian B:The best school is still the HOME.

    ps:sana manalo pa rin and Blue Eagles

  32. TDC

    Tonio:tell the La Sallians that they have had their fair share of heroes and scoundrels too!

    Heroes:Lorenzo Tanada,Jose W.Diokno

    Never mind:Enrique Razon,the Original PacMan(not Manny d’Pacquiao)

  33. BrianB

    tonio,

    They like to wallow in their elitism. Sometimes I do too. Blue is superior this time but they will be cursed because of some alumni. Too bad for the innocent eagles. Tsk, tsk.

    But, really, anywhere you go, there’s nothing like college basketball. The thrill, I mean. Luck always goes into play, heart as well. But anyone tell me it’s redemption if they win will get a big finger.

    REDEMPTION! Ha. Watch out for this word. It will be so loaded at this point.

  34. tonio

    brian:

    hehehe, i’ve a lot of Atenean friends, and it’s at these times their school spirit get high.

    i’ve been pretty removed from these competitions back when i was in college because i was rooting for our Varsity Blues (though we’re not really that great at sports), when they would go after our rivals the Mustangs from the University of Western Ontario. and all the shouting would be at an ice hockey rink or a football field.

    still, good fun all around.

    (i wonder how the Senate is doing. there’s a hearing today, right?)

  35. BrianB

    Yeah, hearing. Mar Roxas made a fool of himself. All he needed to do was look up WiMax on wikipedia.

    Too bad. There was actually a good indirect debate going on between the resource persons. One is pro-privitization, pro Globe, pro PLDT. The other is pro-government WiMAX.

    Eventually there will be WiMAX here just as there is WiFi now. WiMAX is better, cheaper in the long run and there is infinitely more benefit. Imagine a radius of 30 miles? What’s the range of a WiFi router?

    The senators have to no, an investment in a new backbone is an investment in the future of this country. They always try to bite more than they can chew. Now they are actually arguing about the idea and concept of WiMAX. They are questioning if we need them. We need WiMAX or something like it, period. I blog and I am a DSL subscriber. Supposedly, I should be getting 2Mbps. I get on a good day an average of 1500mbps. Almost every week there is a problem with the connection and I have to call technical support. It’s like a highway with pot holes. The anxiety and hassle my connection costs me adds another few thousand on top of my subscription plan. So forgive me if I don’t trust these local Telcos.

  36. TDC

    Tonio:UP professors said in today’s hearing said NO ECONOMIC
    SENSE in NBN deal(in other words,nonsense!)

    U of T ka pala.why did you come back ?

  37. BrianB

    sorry thats 1.5mbps not 1500mbps.

  38. cvj

    Neri might not have dropped the bombshell that many were expecting at the Senate investigation of the ZTE affair but he said enough that in other places would have easily brought down far more legitimate governments. – Abe

    Abe, I second Brianb, that’s very true. In Japan, your namesake has resigned over lesser scandals.

    As to TDC’s observation on both schools – Ateneo and La Salle producing its share of scoundrels, i think its because along with values, these schools elitist disposition have also inculcated a sense of entitlement (aka ‘somos’) which gives their alumni a belief that they are exempt from normal rules. That there are more Ateneans in the scoundrel camp squares with my observation that this sense of elitism is stronger among Ateneans. Incidentally, as Miriam Defensor Santiago demonstrates, the same applies to UP.

  39. BrianB

    cvj,

    Ateneans are different from other elite schools. Ateneans band together; they really love being Atenistas and share a common feeling of… (you fill this in yourselves). It’s an amazing feeling and makes you feel fuzzy all over. The environment is very different from UP. In Ateneo, rich and scholarship students mingle; they make connections that will probably last a life time. They don’t have to go through hazing like in UP. I’m not going to elaborate about my life, but this school is unique among other schools in the Philippines, and it’s also the most feared and the most hated.

    Other Ateneans here, I’m sure don’t want to betray their alma mater, but they have to admit the feeling of elitism pervades the Loyola Heights campus. Some are just more blase about it than others. I’m not saying the university teaches this, but I know many professors actually encourage this sense of entitlement… while preaching love for others. Confidence is important in success but if you are rich, smart and well-connected, do you really need to feel privileged too? If you are an Atenean, who are against you? There is no enemy, so why are some of these alumni so praning?

    You get it when you’re there but after a while in the outside world and being that you are not the type who uses his connections, you don’t get it anymore.

    To be fair, it’s probably not the university itself but Ateneo High.

  40. cvj

    In the interest of full disclosure, i’m saying the above as a La Sallite.

  41. BrianB

    PEACE…

  42. BrianB

    cvj,

    Care for a little bet? I need a 2GB flash drive.

  43. tonio

    tdc:

    ewan ko nga eh. ahahahah! maybe it’s to avoid becoming a sniper.

  44. manuelbuencamino

    INE,

    Ang galing ng revised spelling mo for Ateneo! Original ba yun? I text it out immediately and now I am receiving texts with elaborations na! You hit the spot !

  45. cvj

    Brianb, thanks for the offer but i’m not following the games.

  46. BrianB

    From the New York Times. Searchj yo na lang Google News, ayokong maghintay nang moderation:

    “The Ateneo players have a squeaky-clean image. The team’s prize freshman, Kirk Long, came from Faith Academy, a high school in suburban Manila for the children of foreign missionaries. Guard Eric Salamat’s surname means thank you in Tagalog.

    La Salle’s players have a menacing swagger, with tattoos, headbands, shaved heads and chin-strap beards. In 2005, La Salle revealed that two of its players had used phony high school equivalency results in their applications, and the team was suspended for the 2006 season.”

  47. BrianB

    Funny description, I thought.

  48. manuelbuencamino

    My impressions of the top three schools in the country, at least during my time.

    I went to La Salle, Ateneo, and UP.

    In La Salle I learned the 3 Rs and memorization.

    In Ateneo, I learned how to comprehend what I read and memorized in La Salle.

    In UP, I learned that students preferred to listen to Joma’s teachings and go to demos rather than enjoy sex, drugs, and rock and roll. So I left.

    So all in all, I would say I liked Ateneo best.

    By the way, I also went to UST, PWU, a school in Baguio, and a few others not worth mentioning so I suppose I can say I am an authority on schools. At least on the days when I attended classes.

  49. BrianB

    INE, manuelbuencaminio,

    I’m using it now on my YM status message.

  50. inodoro ni emilie

    mb,

    i am cringing, cringing. am changing spots. but then i suspect abalos sent his son to la salle. so which is worse?

    i hope mickey a., once a blue babbler (this is the only thing he was good at!) shows up to cheer his team. and then during the intermission–by some metaphysical intervention–zteneo and lasalle will suddenly find the meaning of love and unity….

    and pelt mickey with kamatis.

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