The Empire Strikes Back

Update 2:13 pm In a comment on her blog, Ellen Tordesillas says the President’s husband arrives back home tomorrow.

Update 1:42 pm Atty. Gabriel Villaroel, lawyer of Abalos, says the ex-Chairman will file damage suits versus Jose de Venecia III; versus Romulo Neri; and also, a perjury suit versus Romulo Neri.

Update 12:57 Surrounded by his family, Benjamin Abalos, introduced by Benhur, speaks: (shrieks of support from loyalists):

Good Afternoon, specially to my townmates from Mandaluyong many barefoot and in slippers, here even with the bad weather. Thank you for coming to this press conference I called to let our countrymen know how I truly feel about issues and controversies involving my honor, my work, and the privacy and tranquility of my family. It’s been a week since I appeared at the Senate, despite counsel of lawyers and friends, expecting they’d be fair and statesmanlike. I was sorely mistaken, not treated fairly; limited to what they wanted to hear; in these few days of consultation of family and friends, I have come to the painful determination to separate my person from the office I hold. Ladies and gentlemen, I have resigned… (screams of outrage from audience) effectively immediately. However, let not my detractors feast on this… I am not admitting guilt and I am not giving up on my determination to clear my name. I am doing this to spare the Comelec. October 20 election will be detached from my problems…. And this proves I am not dangling so-called political debts… or that administration is out to protect me… Forty years ago I entered politics… and in support of the reasons I entered, that’s why I am resigning…. I am doing this to prevent a long drawn-out impeachment process… Thank you to colleagues in government for comfort all these years… Thank you to my family… I am all the more determined to continue my crusade to clear my name and reputation and dispel the lies… The fight isn’t over! (cheering) However long the darkness lasts, there will be a beautiful dawn, we shall meet again, heads raised high, in a new dawn. Thank you.

The Romans had a term for this sort of thing: falling on one’s sword. He spared himself the risk of an impeachment trial and conviction; and he avoided the opportunity to spill the beans on the President. Benhur’s lease on political life, too, has been given a reprieve, which in the end may have been the clincher. Charges will now be in the hands of the (ta-dah!) Ombudsman.

Update 12:49 TV reports a mass going on with 500 supporters at the residence of Chairman Abalos, and he will then make a statement. Abalos looks calm and collected, Benhur Abalos grimacing and frowning.

Update 10:57 am: News vans arrived and began setting up at the House of Representatives this morning, in expectation of a stormy session this afternoon. Congressmen have been trickling in to endorse the impeachment complaint versus Chairman Abalos. Word is, an informal head count by Abalos’s family indicates the proponents of impeachment have the numbers. The Speaker has gone on record releasing members of the House from their loyalty to the party line -turning impeachment into a “conscience vote.” The Chairman has announced he is holding a press conference at noon, and there is talk that rather than face an impeachment, he will resign. Others believe he will, instead, release a bombshell to try to derail the brewing impeachment.


This is, perhaps, the longest text message I’ve ever received, sent by a Palace loyalist. I assume it represents the emerging party line (which has taken them long enough to put together!) and therefore, this message bears close scrutiny concerning those the message absolves and defends and those it condemns:

Neri must be compelled to talk. He’s invoking Exec Priv bec he wants d public think he s protecting GMA. Neri started by telling media he will talk about d bribe offer n d proper forum bec he wants d senate 2 investigate him. at d senate he invoked Exec Priv. Neri s slowly poisoning d mind of d public so dey wud suspek pres s involved. He’s blackmailing admin. 2 protect JDV’s speakership. GMA tried 2 cancel NBN when she met ChinaPres n APEC but he threatened 2 cancel all other future investments f she does. D suspension of all d China supported Agri proj. worth USD 1.3B s just d start. Facts:China appointed ZTE 2 implement d NBN proj. ZTE contracted-Multimedia telephony (4merly owned by JDV3 & sold 2 Ricky Razon n 2003) 2 b their Manila counterpart. JDV3 tried 2 steal it thru Neri, a JDV puppet. Neri, issued a comfort letter 2 JDV3 so he can raise funds & pressure ZTE 2give him d contract instead of Multimedia. When he failed even w/ his father’s power pushing, he decided to go 2 media & opposition. In JDV3’s testimonies he said he went to see ZTE several times but never said he went 2 DOTC 2 push his offer. Abalos s d broker of ZTE n getting China 2 appoint ZTE. Abalos stands to earn P200M frm ZTE. JDV3 thought Abalos can convince ZTE 2 move him what razon got. Razon sought d help of FG 2 stop JDV3. MVP also tried 2get a share of d biz but Razon wont let him. N return, PLDT paid d UP prof P1M 2 make d study dat wil put d NBN-ZTE look bad. PLDT s funding all d bad PR on Razon & giving d opposition senators d bullets 2 kill d NBNZTE. NBN-ZTE s nothing but a fight of greedy pipol but could cause enormous economic loss 4 d country.

The message places the President as the heroine, and Enrique Razon as one of the aggrieved parties, and pits the Presidents versus the Speaker and the Philippines as the victim of Chinese dictation (as for the Chinese government itself, it’s issued diplomatically impeccable, vanilla statements: China closely monitors ZTE probe, though there is speculation the President might cancel her upcoming trip to China: Palace: No word yet on cancellation of Arroyo’s China visit).

I think this long text message suggests the emerging Palace view as to those who are allied on one side (its side), and how it’s lashing out at former allies it now considers on the other side.

Consider this part of the proceedings last Wednesday:

Abalos: I have here copy of letter, my counsel secured… Addressed to Mike Defensor stated it may interest to know that ZTE a reputable firm in China, responded to this undertaking and consequently, Chinese government designated it as NBN “frime” contractor.

Lacson: Mr de Venecia?

JDV3: This is 1st or 2nd time I’ve heard this in 3 days. Why is Abalos involved in NBN? To rebut him, I divested my shares in multimedia telephony, in 2003, bought by Anscor, Ricky Razon… I have documents that show in 2004 supply contract between my former company and ZTE with regards to vendor contract. I don’t need Abalos to lobby for me because I already know ZTE.

Note that JDV3 says he sold out to a group composed of the Sorianos and Ricky Razon (and note the connection to the text message I quoted in its entirety).

Much later in the same hearing, this came out:

Pimentel: I understand you’ve incurred the ire of some business people, because of your stand of privatization of arrastre service?

Neri: There’s a monopoly, I favored allowing Harbor Center to compete, as our containter fees among highest costs in the world for containers…

Pimentel: Among those angry is Ricky Razon?

Neri: Well, met him at reception for Equitorial Guinea president, Speaker’s mother-in-law’s house, Forbes Park, it was there he accosted me, in effect telling me, in effect, you will allow Harbor Center to operate over my dead body.

Those familiar with the inner circle of the President know that Enrique Razon wields great influence. Some have gone as far -and this inference can be drawn from Neri’s testimony- that Razon, whose resume includes interest in container and port management, publishing and printing, etc (he got into publishing, it seems, when the Sorianos sold him the Manila Standard; he then further acquired Today to form The Manila Standard-Today) was influential enough to get Neri removed from the director-generaliship of NEDA because he wanted arrastre services liberalized (Razon has shown his infighting skills in this department in the past).

In other words, according to those claiming to be in the know, it was Neri’s decision on the ports issue that got him moved out of NEDA, and it had nothing to do with ZTE which, after all, Neri ended up signing off on.

One source went as far as saying that as far as JDV3’s testimony that Multimedia Telephony was sold by JDV3 and now owned by Razon, the Sorianos, Server, etc., is true; a source mentioned Nono Ibazeta, now president of Psalm, formerly our ambassador to Iraq as a “padrino” but of what, exactly, was never clear (But as for the connection between the two? Ibazeta was ambassador to Iraq; Razon was appointed by the President a member of the Public-Private Sector Task force on the Reconstruction and Development of Iraq: an investigative reporter would be licking their chops over such a lead) .

And there’s more: Arroyo okayed talks with ZTE on NBN before NEDA review. This compounds the issue.

But the combination of Neri disappointing those expecting him to tell all, and yet, the obvious lack of celebration on the part of the Palace and its partisans, brings up something blogger chizjarkace wrote:

Even after being urged by some senators that yesterday was the day Neri could do the country a great favor by not hiding under the executive privilege, he still insisted that he was only following Ermita’s order.

That was a clear sign of Neri’s loyalty to the administration, but is the administration loyal to him? I don’t think so. In fact Ermita just denied that he was the one who ordered Neri to invoke the privilege. If Neri wasn’t lying about it then Ermita is. Neri should take that as an indication that even how much he shield Malacañang, he is not assured to get the same protection. Who knows, if the controversy becomes even bigger, he might be the next fall guy for the couple in the palace.

As Justice Isagani Cruz opined,

Romulo Neri appears to be the most believable of the three witnesses, considering his clean living image and his magna cum laude academic credentials from UP and the MBA degree from the University of California. I am disappointed, however, that when asked about President Macapagal-Arroyo’s possible involvement in the scandal, he evaded the question and invoked her – not his – ”executive privilege” in obedience to Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s instruction. Some persons may be honest but not necessarily brave.

The Ignatian Perspective pens a spirited defense of Romulo Neri, and encourages him to withstand the tremendous pressures he’s undeniably being subjected to, by all sides. Ricky Carandang, in his blog, says those disappointed with Neri fail to see that what he has revealed, under oath, is damning enough (something also said in a recent Inquirer editorial by the way). As Carandang puts it,

I know many are disappointed at former NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri’s performance at Wednesday’s senate hearing on the ZTE Broadband deal, but I think he said a mouthful…

Despite being informed of the bribe offer, Arroyo eventually approved the ZTE broadband deal.

On its face, the fact that a cabinet level officer reported a bribery attempt in connection with the deal should have been enough cause for Arroyo to stay away from it. It should have also been grounds for Neri to refuse to nominate te ZTE deal. And yet, despite the bribe offer, that’s exactly what they did.

Not only is that improper, that’s illegal.

What should have happened is that Arroyo should have referred the matter to the Ombudsman and out of a sense of propriety, refused to entertain the ZTE proposal. Neri should have either refused to sign the April 20 letter or — if he were somehow being pressured to sign it — resigned.

Now, like some chess maneuver, Benjamin Abalos is being sacrificed as Malacanang circles the wagons around Arroyo.

But what we’ve learned is that Arroyo knew that Abalos was pushing the ZTE deal as early as October. She was also aware that a senior cabinet member was claiming that Abalos attempted to bribe him. In other words, she had knowledge of two illegal acts pertaining to the ZTE deal prior to approving it.

Many people were disappointed that Neri didn’t somehow implicate Arroyo in all this. They suspect, with good reason, that the subsequent conversations that Neri refused to talk about would indicate the extent of her involvement in ZTE. And they would be right. But what people don’t seem to realize is that already, Neri’s testimony has damned his president. And possibly himself as well.

Yesterday, a dramatic headline appeared in the Inquirer: Neri was ready to talk about ZTE. The revelations, which go beyond the usual two-source requirement but lists four sources, are quite astounding:

According to the four sources of the Inquirer, Neri was ready to answer the senators’ questions when Sen. Joker Arroyo intervened. (The sources all declined to speak on the record in deference to the gag rule governing executive sessions.)

Arroyo reportedly made a motion to allow Neri to avail himself of the legal counsel of his choice.

“I think he tried to help” was how a source explained Arroyo’s purported move.

On the phone last night, Arroyo denied that he had intervened….

After Arroyo’s motion, Budget Secretary Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. entered the members-only Senators’ Lounge, according to the Inquirer sources.

Andaya, who succeeded Neri in the budget department, came in supposedly to act as the latter’s lawyer.

A source said the senators had an argument about the presence of Andaya, who, some insisted, should not be acting as Neri’s lawyer because he was also a member of the Cabinet.

“It’s hard to predict what he (Neri) was going to say, but he was about to talk. I think it’s the presence of Nonoy that stopped him,” one source said…

…Inside the Senators’ Lounge, Neri began to experience chills, and by one observer’s account, it might have been partly because he was afraid.

The sources could not explain how Andaya got into the picture, but he was seen arriving at the Senate a few hours before the senators decided to take Neri to the executive session.

“Basta dumating na lang, umupo doon (He just arrived and sat there),” a source said.

The sources said Andaya told the senators not to press Neri to talk because the latter was sick.

“Then kinalabit na niya si Neri,” a source said…

…The executive session was over in less than 30 minutes.

The story led to angry replies: Joker denies he blocked Neri’s ZTE deal exposé. And to the Palace laying the basis for a possible non-appearance in the future: Palace exec: Neri sore at media for sowing ‘intrigues’. After all, I have nothing more to say on broadband deal–Neri.

(update: Jarius Bondoc has taken an unprecedented step for a columnist, revealing his source and what the source told him; originally, he was going to hold a press conference but instead, the information appeared in his column this morning; because the Star website’s links are wacky, I’m reprinting the column in full):

I understand why Neri couldn’t talk
GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc
Monday, October 1, 2007

I called Romy Neri right after testifying Sept. 18 in that first Senate hearing on the ZTE scam. It was our tenth talk about the issue since Apr. 20, when The STAR ran my first of a series of articles. I pried why he didn’t show up, if he was under any threat of harm, and when he’ll reveal all he knows. From his replies it was clear he was charily weighing the consequences. There’s a time and place for everything, he mused, then asked if what he has narrated to me thus far would “incite another EDSA.” I said I didn’t know, but that I do wish the Senate inquiry would spark a wave of reforms, starting with clean elections. He shared the dream, but doubted if it would come true soon. Our talk eventually led to sacrificing for the sake of the nation. He said Joey de Venecia was brave to implicate big names, adding that if push comes to shove the young whistleblower fortunately has a rich dad to fall back on. “I’m not affluent,” Romy stated the obvious. Neither am I, I reminded him. Whereupon, he shot back: “Oh, but you’re a journalist, you’re supposed to be dedicated to the truth.”

Yes, in this calling our first instinct is to truth and justice, at all costs. So with Romy’s words in mind I must disclose what he has told me. I know I might get him and myself into deep trouble with powerful persons. But that is journalism. Too, in my hierarchy of values, God is first, country next, family and friends third, and myself bottom. Patriotic duty calls.

Romy bared many frightening things when he called me morning of Apr. 20. I had written that the government was rushing to award the ZTE contract the next day in Boao, China, and that the NEDA, which he headed then, had approved the overpriced telecoms supply in a huff. Before I could ask anything, Romy blurted three items in succession: “This deal was the handiwork of Ricky Razon and Comelec chief Benjamin Abalos … I warned President Arroyo about this, and also told Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. … Abalos tried to bribe me P200 million.”

I was stunned, and asked him to start over again by answering some basic questions. Like, how the NEDA got involved in this, and why a build-operate-transfer project suddenly became a negotiated supply purchase. He said “NEDA had to make an evaluation any which way.” Too, the law “allows the President to waive ODA (overseas development assistance) rules in a bilateral or government-to-government agreement.” He stressed that NEDA had no capacity to determine any overpricing, then explained the three steps in any NEDA project review.

Three times Romy repeated he had warned Arroyo about the deal. He told her about the bribe offer, and she allegedly replied “then don’t accept it, but work on the approvals just the same.” He said Arroyo kept blaming Joey for the mess that was then brewing.

The culprits in this deal, he said, are “ZTE Corp., Razon, Abalos - and one more….” When I asked why his NEDA approved the ZTE proposal when he knew all along it was stinky, he said, “GMA was pushing it, and it’s our job to process.” With pain in his voice, Romy said he had almost resigned the day before.

“My life is in your hands,” Romy cautioned towards the end. He said Abalos had wiretapped one of his staff, and Razon had once threatened him at a cocktail party hosted by the Speaker.

Before he hung up, Romy said that my exposé had the potential to mar the administration’s chances in the May election. It was so explosive, he counseled, so I must be very careful. He also said he would fire off a Letter to the Editor to clarify his role, in view of the sensitive info he had just shared.

I expect Romy to get mad at me initially. He already did because of my column last Monday, which his friends said put him in peril for hinting at what he might testify to. I apologized to him Tuesday, explaining that I intended his potential tormentors to realize, for his safety, that some other persons and I know what he knows. Too, that I wanted corroboration of Joey’s testimony.

I also expect Romy to understand in the end. He was feverish and coughing when he testified Wednesday. The media have since praised him for boldly divulging Abalos’s bribe attempt, but also pilloried him for hedging on matters involving higher officials. Some even mocked him for downplaying his role at NEDA as presidential co-chair of major projects, making it look like he wasn’t worth a P200-million payoff to begin with.

But then news reports have it that Romy was ready to bare all during the executive session at 9 p.m., just that he was having chills. I pray I can help him with this. Before the hearing I offered Romy a prayer for fortitude. He said he was more courageous than us. I don’t doubt it.

My column today,Should thuggery trump secrecy? tackles this dramatic story of an “intervention” in the Senate’s executive session (I translated “kalabit” as “nudged,” which may or may not impart the proper imagery). It is a story that suggests those inclined to sympathize or at least show compassion towards Neri, may be on to something, and that the new official line he has nothing more to say, is to prevent his saying anything further. The man didn’t just fold because the pressure was intense; the pressure may have been applied persistently and in a manner that represents an institutional assault on the senate itself. This morning, at least one senator is of a similar view: Lacson: Andaya lawyered for Neri during call for exec meet.

And, bearing in mind what Ignatian Perspective and Ricky Carandang wrote, blogger Slap Happy ties it all together with the reports on the Senate’s Executive Session:

In fact, the mere notion that he cited Executive Privilege was to keep everybody in bated breath over what he has to say. It’s like his way of telling the Senators, “I have something, and boy oh boy will you love this, but wait, they might go after me after this so you have got to assure me safety.”

I think this safety clause should be made before he changes his mind, lest we suddenly read the papers tomorrow and find that he has flown out of the country.

All of this talk had stemmed from Neri’s appearance in an executive meeting of the Senators who were investigating the NBN Deal.

In an article from, Neri was supposed to start talking had not someone intervened and allowed him to have legal representation for the meeting, and then Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya appeared and said that he was appearing on Neri’s behalf.

This was when they noticed Neri getting the chills or feeling sick or something. The guy must be really scared with the information he holds.

Pretty much like what i have written earlier, this has become more of like a soap opera where the plot thickens and characters with significant issues suddenly appear.

If the rumors are true, and what he indeed knows will blow up in the executive office faces, i think it is our moral duty to protect and impose upon Neri the moral ascendancy to speak up and correct what he sees is wrong.

Since these hearings will resume, yesterday’s Inquirer editorial imparts some advise on how such hearings can be better handled:

The Senate must review its procedures. The lowest point was Richard Gordon acting like a petulant child, insisting on adding a full hour to the proceedings because he craved television time, when even his usually fractious colleagues had decided to go into executive session. Gordon wouldn’t even give the chairmen of the committees, Sen. Alan Cayetano in particular, the basic respect due a chairman. We have seen many moments of political degeneracy in our recent Senates, but Gordon’s was among the most galling debasements of the Senate. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s slur on an entire civilization came quite close in disgracefulness.

The Senate has no apologies to make for seizing on the ZTE-NBN issue and following the money, as investigators of Watergate were once advised. They are doing their job – but so badly as to be incompetent. They must learn to ask proper questions, which requires teamwork, and they must show they know as much as – if not more than – wily executive officials trying to prevent their finding out the truth.

But it goes beyond that: the Senate must not shrink from a confrontation with the Executive, not only on the basis for invoking executive privilege, but on its possible intrusion into the executive session.

And if it’s true that ‘GMA allies ready to sacrifice Abalos’, is a premature feeding frenzy worth it? Once you pick Abalos’ political carcass clean to the bone, then what? Or sustain the pressure, and investigate all the way to the top? Update 12:12 pm: however, the Speaker has gone on record releasing his partymates from party loyalty or discipline on this issue, making their choices on whether to sign on to impeachment or not, a “conscience vote.” Since party discipline is the ultimate line of defense, this suggests the Speaker’s implicitly favoring impeachment. The Speaker’s expected to endorse the impeachment complaint to the Committee on Justice this afternoon or tomorrow, which means it could then gather steam, with congressmen trickling in to sign on.

On another note, in Inquirer Current John Nery clarifies some misreported details; this made me review my liveblogging account and whew, at least he wasn’t referring to my (terse) account:

Estrada: you said, Mystery Man was Atty. Arroyo. When did you first see him?

JDV3: earlier this year, Wack-Wack, it was Atty. Arroyo with Abalos, Jimmy Paz, Quirino de la Torre, Ruben Reyes and Leo San Miguel.

Estrada: What were exact words Atty. Arroyo told you?

“Back off,” says JDV3.

Estrada: “Back off” were exact words? In presence of Abalos, etc? I have a waiter friend there, can you demonstrate how it was done?

JDV3: May I use seatmate as model? (giggle) shoves finger in face of Suplico and yells, “Back off!!”

And also, here, my account seems OK, too:

Santiago: I am not interested in that project. For record China invented civilization in the East, but they also invented corruption that’s why these Chinese like inviting people to golf, etc. As officials we know we’re being invited not for our good looks… On record, let me put it on record: I resent being made party to this squabble! You’re just fighting over kickbacks! You’re wasting Senate time! (Santiago leaves Senate)

11:13 Cayetano: Noted.

Speaking of these liveblogging efforts, please refer to Achieving Happiness who also covered the hearing. And Rasheed Abou-Alsamh points out something we should bear in mind:

It is not that often that people in developing countries get to see non-elected government officials squirm on live television while they are relentlessly grilled by elected representatives of the people. And it is a scene that I have never seen happen in an Arab country.

You know, anything can be liveblogged, check out Jalajala Rizal liveblogging a fiesta.

Meanwhile, Carmen Pedrosa continues to find every which way to keep justifying her recent trip to Burma and thus, her role in coddling the junta.


Skip to comment form

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    “To each his own, but it sounds to me that you might like an autocracy where the people are cogs in a state-controlled wheel. Isn’t this a little like the “Mussolini/Marcos made the trains run on time” reasoning?”

    A state guided-wheel is more like it. I really believe that if there is organization, objectives, timetables, accountability, evaluation, and continous improvement there is order and where there is order – you get more things done, when you get more things done, you are more productive, and when you are more productive you are wealthier (hopefully healthier also) and can afford to have quality time with loved ones. Of course, strict adherence to the rules – even traffic rules, all of us are capable of not going through a red light even if there’s no one watching. Your allusion to Marcos/Mussolini scares me – thats a worst case scenario.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    No matter how you change the game, if the players are the same, you would have the same outcome – cheating, cutting corners, bullying, and grandstanding. The system is rotten not because it got rotten by itself but it got infected by ROTTEN PEOPLE.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Ram People would always have their own opinion of things on how to run an organization, even a country. Some leans toward DISCIPLINE. Some leans toward RESULT-ORIENTED ENDEAVORS. Some leans toward MEDIOCRITY.

    Let me get back to the SINGAPORE EXPERIENCE. Yes, Singapore is prosperous, it is rich, it has a low crime rate, it has an excellent Governmet but they had to pay some prices to attain this “modicum of utopia living” so to speak. They had to give-up certain freedoms.

    I’d like to delve into European Government Systems though I am not that well versed in this arena. Why is that their Governments work. They are prosperous, they are rich, low-crime rate, and citizens are happy. Is it because they have attained a certain degree of POLITICAL MATURITY and all sorts of MATURITY for that matter?

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 3:13 pm


    Just just it, we have to believe that there is a possibility of change. Its a fact the “hardship” has a changing effect on men, we can wait it out until these corrupt officials bancrupt us or plunge us into inflation, until we hit rock bottom so there’s no other direction but up. Or probably, in our own sphere of influences effect changes little by little or fast depending on the severity.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Ram I remember two quotes reding about your first two sentences. Here are the quotes that came to my mind:

    “Nothing endures but change.” (Heraclitus)
    “What does not kille me, makes me stronger.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

    Let get back to basics. Real “social transformation” starts from the individual – from each and everyone of us. The individual influences the family (the most basic social institution). The family influences the community. The communities influences the society-at-large. Much like a bottom-top model for instituting change.

    Radical changes do happen but at great costs – a CIVIL WAR? The French Revolution did produce greatness to France. Even the American Civil War made them say: “Let’s stop fighting and build a nation.” I dunno if this is applicable to Philippines where people are fond of HIT and RUN rather than facing things HEAD ON.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 3:26 pm


    The Singapore model is far from Utopia, its probably the physical manifestation of the “Leviathan” or the “necessary evil” or the “state.” Its far from perfect and yes some things have to be sacrificed but We must ask ourselves this question “In order to achieve security, financially or psychologically, even emotionally, what are we willing to give up? We have to pay for these some way or the other?

    • cvj on October 2, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    cvj — That was “their” Cha-Cha, not mine. – Geo

    If i knew that at the time, maybe i would have kept a more open mind. 😀 Too bad you were not around during the height of the Charter Change debates in November & December.

    A state guided-wheel is more like it. – Ramrod

    I cannot argue against a state guided-wheel because that is a prerequisite for my advocacy of implementing an industrial policy. However, in addition to State-guidance, i think an arrangement where the State Sector has a lively interaction with the Public Sphere is needed. As i mentioned before, one of the unfortunate unintended consequences of EDSA Dos was that Civil Society and the State became fused together. Aside from co-opting and oftentimes corrupting the civil society activists, it also deprived the public sphere of its lifeblood. That’s why i’m of two minds endorsing Manolo, Leah, Ricky and the others to run for public office.

    As to what i would be willing to ‘give up’ to the State, certainly not my freedoms and my rights, though others have been known to make that bargain (‘just to move the country forward’) and some have already begun regretting it.

    • BrianB on October 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    “Its far from perfect and yes some things have to be sacrificed but We must ask ourselves this question “In order to achieve security, financially or psychologically, even emotionally, what are we willing to give up? We have to pay for these some way or the other?”

    Ramrod, sorry to disappoint you but democracy wasn’t our idea; it was the Americans’. Even today many of our people do not appreciate democracy. It would be better if we translate the big lump of a word that is “democracy” to its working parts: right to live, right to have a living, right to own property, free speech, etc… i.e. Bill of Rights. Democracy as defined being the rule of the people cannot be more alien to Filipinos. Better if we think of it as the right of every Filipino to be respected by the law equally.

    With that said, talking about alternative forms of governments is futile, and, worse, an elite-only discussion.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    CVJ: (a) Ok (b) Precisely, the next questions would be how. Better employment, better compensation, better government services, better standard of living.

    What I meant with that is that the COMMON PEOPLE don’t seem to DEMAND what they deserve in terms of Government Services, in terms of Salaries and Wages. Let me give you an example, there are a lot of Factory Workers who are in HARSH WORKING CONDITIONS. For most of them, they accept what’s given to them but they should DEMAND from their Employers better working conditions not because they want it but because it’s what is prescribed by Law as well. There are some employers who take advantage of some employees.

  1. Ca T, thanks for supplying the terminology, i did not know what it was called. Why was it banned in the UK?

    May be they thought that it is not effective as it is thought to be.

    Diane Feinstein’s husband is still accused of getting government contracts.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Ram It might not be “utopia” for you but it might be “utopia” for some people (mainly the Singaporeans). Around a year ago, I was able to talk with some Malaysian and Singaporean businesspeople. We talked a lot of things. What caught my attention was the Pension/Retirement System in Singapore. Once Singaporeans RETIRE, they RETIRE as multi-millionaires from what they can get as lump sum and benefits. In Malaysia, they say the Government are the ones running after those people who don’t claim their Pension/Retirement Benefits. Now, this might seem insignificant to those who already have their own “private retirement fund” but for common people, this is EVERYTHING THEY HAVE WORKED FOR and it bore fruits, and lots of them.

    Now, in the Philippines, it is the very CONTRIBUTOR-MEMBERS that needs to follow-up even give grease money to SSS and GSIS personnel just for their pension/bonus to be released. After working all your life, during your retirement you still SUFFER? My heart goes to all the Private Workers and Government Workers who should be at least enjoying their pension but their pension/retirement has become a NIGHTMARE for them.

    Yeah, we can talk about psycho-emotional satisfaction, about financial-economical satisfaction but let us be reminded that for most people (in the Philippines), their main goal is to have a good retirement, plain and simple. They don’t want any complications and ramifications on life.

    Good question: What are we willing to give up for a better life like that of the Singaporeans and Malaysians (just an example)?

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    MLQ3: I’ll attempt to post my comment again (the one that the Blog didn’t accept) so that I’ll know my next move. Your software got a vertigo with my numbers. 😀

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    MLQ3: You are most welcome. Although people’s salaries then were proportionate to live a DECENT and DIGNIFIED lifestyle, sure there were also situations wherein “temptations” to steal arose. Or maybe people back then were much simpler than people like now. Back then, there were no CELLPHONES that needs to be procured every 3 months to have the lates. Way back then people were more contented with life (since it wasn’t yet a society of CONSUMERISM and COMMERCIALISM), unlike now. These are some considerations to look into as well – the Environment.

    With reference to the SALARIES that your Grandfather had, here are today’s equivalent:

    • cvj on October 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Ramrod, sorry to disappoint you but democracy wasn’t our idea; it was the Americans’ – Brianb

    Didn’t the Malolos Constitution precede the Americans? Reading it gave me the impression that it was democratic in character.

  2. Why is GMA going on this junket when by all intents and purposes she needs to stay put and face these issues head on as any sensible leader would do?

    Afraid of the backlash may be. The execs of ToysRUS made a public apology to the Chinese government about the toy recalls.

    There are many Filipino-owned businesses in China, like the hotel where she was billeted–owned by Lucio Tan and the famous Jolibee.

    I call it damage control.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. 🙁

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    The Ca t What we have to look into first is if this trip has been planned long before or an “impulse trip.” If the former is true then we can deduce it’s coincidence but if the latter is true then it’s might be an “evasive tactic” being employed by the “spin doctors” of Malacanang.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    The Ca t There are some Filipino companies that are investing in China – of course, Lucio Tan. The Gokongwei’s I think gets a lot of money from C2 in China. Danding Cojuangco wants a foothold on the Chinese Market as well. GMA would ride in a plane and stay in a place both owned by Lucio Tan? Hmmm… Is this a joint-venture between Lucio Tan and Tony Tan Caktiong? I mean, the hotel you’re referring to.

  3. I invested in educational funds earlier, trust funds I heard about these but I don’t have any idea, probably later on.

    Educational funds are some forms of trust funds. Trust funds are set up mostly for

    a. avoidance of estate taxes,
    b. provide for minor children or family members who lack financial experience or who are unable to manage their assets
    c. To provide for management of your assets should you become unable to oversee them yourself.

    The SOCIAL SECURITY and GSIS membership contributions are
    PUBLIC TRUST FUNDS entrusted to these government agencies for investment so that in the future they will be getting
    them in lump sum or in pension forms.

    So where did these funds go.

    During the time of Erap, more than a hundred million were invested in the Belle Corp.

    During the time of Marcos, it was alleged to have been used by cronies for their capital sourcing.

    I do not know about the other presidents.

    As I have commented before, it is not only the low salaries that make the officials corrupt. It is the power to use these vast resources for their own enrichment.

    Parang ilagay mo ang tao sa isang kuwarto na maraming perang hindi sa kaniya pero siya may hawak, hindi kaya siya mademonyo para hindi galawin yon?

  4. GMA would ride in a plane and stay in a place both owned by Lucio Tan?

    Philippine Air Lines is now wholly-owned by Lucio Tan after he bought the PNB shares?

  5. “No matter how you change the game, if the players are the same, you would have the same outcome – cheating, cutting corners, bullying, and grandstanding. The system is rotten not because it got rotten by itself but it got infected by ROTTEN PEOPLE.”

    Karah, you echo most of my sentiments I’ve made in past posts. Even questioning the viability of civil war. Even your gripes abt SSS and GSIS.

    In fact, the main reason why I want to go abroad is bec of the unreliability of pension funds and insurances here, both government and private. My wife has applied for her maternity benefit yet till now, 3 mos after giving birth, we have yet to hear from SSS. My father bought my sisters educational insurances, yet this private insurance company was never able to pay for my sister’s education fully. PAG IBIG is downright corrupt as well. We had a housing loan and we were asked to pay more than what was computed for us originally. When we challenged this, all we got was a refund for a small amount when the overpayment was hundreds of thousands. My mother in law depends only on her husband’s GSIS pension for their monthly budget, but that gets delayed 3 mos or maybe more. The worse delays came last elections, wherein I suppose all those money was diverted into election funds. Here in Naga, CASURECO (local electric utility) is embroiled in a corruption scandal wherein they overcharged all subcribers by big amounts. In fact, our electric bill reached as high as 6k when all we had are the usual appliances plus my PC. you would be even aghast that private companies are also scampering to join in the corruption. Cable and internet utilities here all want in on the action.

    Bottomline, I don’t feel secure living here. Anytime, your house could be raided by police in a hulidap operation. There’s not a trustworthy insurance company in sight. The industry can’t regulate itself. And I don’t have anything to look forward to when I retire. Only more work as pensions are stolen by those whom you entrust it to. The only consolation I have is that by my counts, we’ve hit rock bottom and there’s nowhere to go but up.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:26 pm


    Rate: 1 USD = 2 PESOS (1903-1944)

    The reference for all computations are based on CPI (Consumer Price Index) Method

    Fiscal (Mindoro) 1903: Php 2,800/year (1,400USD) = USD 33,087.92 or Php 1,488,904.29 (2006)
    Fiscal (Tayabas) 1094: Php 3,000/year (1,500USD) = USD 35,040.56 or Php 1,576,770.01 (2006)
    Provincial Governor (Tayabas) 1906: Php 4,000/year (2,000USD) = USD 46,238.52 or Php 2,080,661.03 (2006)
    President, Philippine Senate 1925: Php 12,000/year (6,000USD) = USD 69,001.71 or Php 3,104,968.28
    President, Philippine Senate 1926: Php 16,000/year (8,000USD) = USD 91,118.64 or Php 4,100,195.29 (2006)
    President, Philippine Senate 1928: Php 16,000/year (8,000USD) = USD 94,150.61 or Php 4,236,629.17 (2006)
    President, Philippine Senate 1933: Php 12,000/year (6,000USD) = USD 93,333.33 or Php 4,199,852.86 (2006)
    President, Philippine Senate 1934: Php 12,000/year (6,000USD) = USD 90,336.07 or Php 4,064,980.88 (2006)
    President of the Philippines 1944: Php 30,000/year (15,000USD) = USD 171,818.18 or Php 7,731,547.50 (2006)

    By the looks of it, the Salary of your Grandfather if given today (with reference to the RELATIVE AMOUNT with the dollar then and now) to the Goverment Positions of Granddad occupied, would really be quite HIGH and very much a salary that’s only given to CEO’s of Big Philippine Corporations, GOCC’s and GIF’s, and Executives in Multinational Companies.

  6. sabi ng tatay ko: kaya daw korap ang mga tao sa gobyerno ay dahil di nila pinaghirapan ang perang nilulustay nila. maghanap ka ng ordinaryong empleyado at makikita mo kung gano ka metikuloso ito sa gastusan nya.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    MLQ3 Finally, my comment came through. I’ll read the other link you gave me and would also try to do the “relative equivalent” thing.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    The Ca t I know that Lucio Tan has majority stake in PAL. What I was inferring about is that idea that why would GMA be riding a plane (owned by Tan) and staying in a hotel (again owned by Tan). Are there concessions that Tan is asking or mere “goodwill?”

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    DevilsAdvc8 To be fair to some local Private Companies, there are some Insurance companies that we can consider as “reliable” and they can deliver. I am not advertising any company but from what I’ve heard, PHILAMLIFE is one of them.

    Talking about SSS and GSIS, much is left to be desired in these two Agencies. I even find it funny that employeees in these agencies act arrogantly towards the very people that pay for their salaries & wages – the Member-Contributors. Now, GSIS has this so-called e-GSIS card. This is good for those who are abroad, those living in the cities. How about living in far flung areas where there are no ATM machines yet? Some of these people are really old and can’t travel long distances.

    What they should have done was to let the Member-Contributor choose what service they would prepare but I guess, some of these Government Agencies decide on their own without any consulation. Now what makes we wonder is that it’s UNIONBANK that controls this e-GSIS ATM Card. Why not Landbank? Why not DBP? I do think these Government Depository Banks have the capability. There’s rumor that the Garcia’s of Cebu have a stake at UNIONBANK (the Aboitizes, also from Cebu). Put two and two together, we get four. But then again, these are mere rumors that we might be mistaken altogether.

    Some say that Government Agencies like PHILHEALTH, PAG-IBIG, GSIS, and even SSS (which should be a Private Pension Fund but again under the hands of any Administration) are MILKING COWS of some Politicians not only during Elections but also for LOAN Purposes. I do remember that Villar loaned a couple of Billions from GSIS at the behest of then Pres. Erap. I don’t know what happened to this loan – what this paid back by Villar (who is now the THIRST MOST POWERFUL FIGURE in the Philippine Government? Hmmm.

    It’s good you mentioned certain INDUSTRIES that should be REGULATED but the REGULATORS seem to turn a blind eye – Insurance Industry, Energy Sector (IPP – Independent Power Producers), Telecom (Voice and Data) and the Internet.

    I do understand your frustration about all these things. I won’t say that you were beset with a lot of problems vis a vis the very Government that should help its citizens. It’s not as bad as we might all think though. Down the line, it’s you who will make your CHOICES and I’m sure, what you have in mind is for the best of your family and yourself.

  7. Php 30,000/year 171,818.18 or Php 7,731,547.50 (2006)

    Your numbers are cute.(no malice intended). I just don’t have the stamina now to be coming up with long computations.

    It reminds me a story about a young man who fell into a coma and woke up with a million from his deposit in a bank. He was overjoyed when he realized he was already a millionaire. The thing is prices of commodities have also gone up that his million has a current value of just several hundreds.

    Just like the salary of the grandfather of MLQ3, that time, the 30,000 could have bought him several tracts of land,a big house and other comforts in life.

    Now that 7.7 million is just a little condo in Makati.

    The President now may have only a few hundred thousands of salaries but take a look at the discretionary funds not subject to audits at his/her disposal.

    Just take a look at our congressmen and senators. Why would they spend millions to get elected when they have only a few hundred thousands as salaries?

    First, they have the pork barrel. Even the party-list
    congressmen did not give this “fat pig” up.

    Second. They have millions and allowances for their staff (INCLUDING RESEARCH STAFF which should be supplying them with materials that would make them look intellectual during discourses, investigations and committee meetings in Congress).

    But why do you feel that there’s no research at all. They still look clueless?

    Take a pick:
    1. The congressman or senator’s become employment agencies of their unemployed relatives, supporters and friends whose qualifications only include running errands and joining the coterie of alalays.

    2. The office becomes a house of GHOSTS who come only on the 15th and 30th

    3. The job description does not jive with the job title.

    Third. They’re not after these salaries,allowances and pork barrel but they are after the protection of their business interests in their provinces.

    When you are in the Senate or Congress, you have access to the bills that are currently being discussed in committees.

    Either you kill it or you defer its legislation.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 6:21 pm


    Let’s approach the term “educational fund” from the point of view of the PRE-NEED INDUSTRY. There are three basic types of PRE-NEED PLANS, (a) Pension; (b) Education; (c) Life. As the new IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulation) by SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission would define:

    PRE-NEED PLANS are contracts which provide for the performance of FUTURE SERVICE(s) or PAYMENT OF FUTURE MONETARY CONSIDERATION at the time of actual need, payable either in cash or installment by Planholders at prices stated in the Contract with or without interest or insurance coverage and includes LIFE, PENSION, EDUCATION, INTERMENT, and other plans which the Commission may from time to time approve.” This is most basic definition of what a PRE-NEED PLAN is (with reference to EDUCATIONAL FUND or EDUCATIONAL PLAN).

    A TRUST FUND per se would depend much on the “agreement” between the TRUSTEE and the TRUSTOR – this is on a private level as held by BANKS or OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. In the Public Level, like PENSION FUNDS, SOCIAL SECURITY FUNDS and the sort is in turn handled by the Government and it’s up to that particular agency how to grow the said PUBLIC TRUST FUND.

    Yes, TRUST FUNDS have special tax advantages among other things. On who will benefit, how will the fund be disbursed, when the funds would be released to the BENEFICIARY would depend largely on the TERMS OF CONTRACT.

    More TRANSPARENCY is needed for Government Trust Funds to be for the benefit of the Member-Contributors. The books should be open, the said Agency should educate the Members how it works, what are their benefits, and sundry. The lack of PROCEDURAL KNOW-HOW in processing, claiming one’s Pension is one of the biggest obstacles for some people.

    The key here, everybody knows where the money and there would be less corruption. The Members should in turn be active members.

    • cvj on October 2, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Devils, when looking at a foreign employment offer, do consider not only the salary but also the entire package (e.g. medical benefits for family). A colleague of mine related over dinner last night how his savings from his Singapore stint was wiped out when his mother had a stroke in the early 2000’s. He says that a number of OFW’s want to return to the Philippines because of the lack of this particular benefit.

    Karah, about that e-GSIS card, because of that card, my Dad couldn’t get his retirement pension for the past three months.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    The Ca t There are a lot of bases for coming up with these “relative values” exercises. I actually employed the Consumer Price Index (CPI). There are other models like GDP Deflator, Consumer Bundle, Unskilled Wage, GDP Per Capita, and Relative Share of GDP. I picked CPI because it’s the middle approximation. Let me give an example:

    Php 30,000/year (USD 15,000). CPI would yield USD 171,818.18; GDP Deflator would yield USD 143,677.07; Unskilled Wage would yield USD 302,996.21; GDP Per Capita would yield USD 399,659.52; and Relative Share of GDP would yield USD 900,457.23. We cannot exactly compute which is the precise one but take a pick on which among the said models would shall we say “suit your own approximations.”

    To date, I think the President has a DISCRETIONARY FUND of 1-2 Billion Pesos. With a re-enacted Budget, the President can literally JUGGLE FUNDS. These funds does not need any Auditing (it is exempt).

    The only way to check on this PORK BARRELS, COUNTRYSIDE DEVELOPMENT FUND, or whatever they wanna call it, is for Congressmen/women and Senators PUBLISH or make AVAILABLE to PUBLIC how the funds were spent. May it be an Infrastructure Project, may it be a Livelihood Project, may it be to put of Schools, and other “per projects that these Legislators might have.”

    You see, it does not begin and end in the PORK BARREL FUNDS. Aside from the Salary of Congressmen/women and Senators, they are also allocated BUDGETS for Office Expenses, Operational Expenses, Research and Professional Services. Even each Committee in the House and the Senate has it’s own Budget. These things should be also made PUBLIC.

    Philippines is only about two things: POWER and MONEY. Take for example, why the Cojuangco’s with their money would still want to occupy a House Seat (remember Charlie and Mark). Are they in for the money? Of course not. They are there to protect their BUSINESS INTERESTS, plain and simple. They are there for POWER.

    One thing to push for is ACCESS TO INFORMATION or FREEDOM to INFORMATION for citizens on Public Documents that do no involve Security Matters, Diplomatic Matters, and Military Matters. In terms of Procedural Matters when it comes to Bills, Resolutions, Laws, Administrative Orders, Memorandum of the different Line Agencies should be accessed by the Public especially in PUBLIC BIDDINGS of Projects and the sort.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I’ll be on break since my fingers are already tired typing. Be back later.

    • karah on October 2, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Good for you Tonio. So you’re a blogger now. I bid you all the best re: your Blog.

    Talking about Middle Class, we can classify them as Low Middle Class, Middle Middle Class, and Upper Middle Class. I think the MIDDLE CLASS ARENA is very diverse and varied. Take for example the bulk of OFW’s (8 Million or more). They can be considered MIDDLE CLASS spread in the three categories. Yes, Call Center Agents, BPO people, practically working in the Services Sector is part of the Middle Class. Even Small Entrepreneurs are included in the Middle Class. I am just not sure how we classify them.

    Well, for one there are a lot of Business being derived from areas near Call Centers, Contact Centers, BPO Centers, and even in Manufacturing firms that go 24hours operation. I am not so sure in the arena of Government Services. Ah Elections from 5am to 5am would first and foremost be very EXPENSIVE and COSTLY because you would have at least two shifts of people that wound man the polling stations. There might be some mechanism, maybe ONLINE VOTING but not this coming Elections though.

    • Harry on October 2, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    hi karah:

    do you have an msn id? can we be friends?


  8. Re: Karah’s “Is it because they have attained a certain degree of POLITICAL MATURITY and all sorts of MATURITY for that matter?”

    I believe so. It took centuries of warring, tens of millions of deaths, the deplacing of millions and millions of people before Europeans finally achieved political maturity.

    Europeans realized that a little more economic homogeneity would bring peace and along with peace a bit more prosperity, that in essence is what is political maturity to many Europeans.

    Corruption still exists in many parts of Europe, particularly in the new member nations of the EU but tht is beacause most of them are still very poor but with a lil more help coming from the more ‘politically mature nations’, I believe we will see less of corruption.

    In Belgium alone, one of the founding fathers of the EU, ‘petty corruption’, i.e., tax evasion (service providers want to be paid in cash to avoid declaring income and many others), swindling the State by refusing offered jobs (because they get more out of the state in unemployment benefits), is still practiced almost at every level of society but really, not anywhere near, but nowhere near, the practice in Pinas.

    However, there is no such thing as widespread corruption in government, no so much because civil servants receive big pay, many of them still are minimum wage earners but this low level of pay is compensated by other living and social advantages.

    The EU was basically founded to prevent wars between European nations happening again and that it could be achieved by allowing European societies greater economic upliftment. There is a strong belief in Europe that war is caused by poverty and poverty creates corruption. That is in many ways, Eruope’s political maturity.

  9. Hi Mlq3,

    Thanks for the mention.

  10. Karah, PRE NEED for me is still there to SCREW US. That’s why I have no plans whatsoever to buy into any of them. I have 6 siblings, all of us insured either by CAP or TPG. Only my eldest sister was able to fully utilize her CAP. All of us were still sent to college on full tuitions.

    My father has full medical insurance. (i don’t know what company) He doesn’t get its full benefits. GSIS screws its members so much, but you can bet SSS is trying to catch up with it.

    In the US, getting benefits is so easy INSURANCE FRAUD is a lucrative business. Here in our country, legitimate benefits are so hard to collect, DEFRAUDING MEMBERS is a lucrative business.

    cvj, even before I have graduated, I already had an employer waiting for me. i told you its jz been me who’s been dragging my feet in going to the US. my contract provides for housing, medical, even 401k (whatever that is) with annual appraisal, and lasts only for 2 years, upon which I can either renegotiate or bid my services out.

    • cvj on October 2, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Devils, i see so what’s the hold up? The sooner you go the sooner you can come back.

  11. cvj, the hold up? i can’t stomach my work. even when i was jz interning, i never enjoyed it. i enjoyed doing call center work more than being stuck in the clinic. it’s terribly depressing dealing with sick people all the time. your heart really has to be in it to last in this field. sad to say, mine isn’t. that’s why i refused to go until i had the shortest length of contract year available. and that was trimmed to 2 yrs.

    • cvj on October 2, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that. I felt the same way with my Accounting Course which i found incredibly boring, which is why i took a job in I.T. instead. (I then eventually found out that I.T. folks largely serve accountants.)

    I have a stupid question (since i don’t know the field), instead of going into physical therapy itself, what if you become a masseuse? or a sports therapist? Aren’t the skill sets the same and you’ll be dealing with healthier bodies?

  12. actually, that is my plan. to be either a sports therapist or a gym instructor. sometimes i imagine breaking into the “big league.” I’d be Sharapova’s personal trainer (wow!) or an NBA/NFL therapist.

    instead, i’m bound for a nursing home.

    well, i guess i have to start somewhere.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 8:58 pm


    if you don’t like staying too long in clinics, you can opt for a sales job there – selling therapy related products but again covering clinics, gyms,c etc. I’m sure there are lots of companies there that you can try, the most basic requirement is just that you like meeting people. The pay is probably more than above average.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    “well, i guess i have to start somewhere.”

    Hey, take heart in this, even if it starts from the bottom, the cream always rises to the top.

  13. cvj, devils,

    physical therapy or even masseuse (legit ones) are in great demand even in Europe. You have to book an appointment with a therapist well or long in advance almost to get a decent time slot.

    My masseuse charges 50 Euros (almost 90 US$?) for 45 minutes of physical thereapy to give you an idea (went up from 40 Euros last year.)

    Of course it must be extremely hard work to be doing it 7 or 8 hours a day. (Don’t know though how much they pay in taxes but I reckon they don’t declare some of their income when they’re paid in cash.)

    • rego on October 2, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Galing galing naman ng mga comments. Nais ko sanang makipagsabayan sa inyo. Kaya lang delayed na tong mga ginagawa ko.

    Of course I read all the comments including your reply Manolo, Karah, and Shaman nasi ko sana mag reply kaya. Kaya lang busing busy dito.

    Anyways keep it up guys!

    Hey Karah, dont you know that your presence is putting order in this blog. Biglang nabawasan yung mga bangayan personalan na comments. Kaya maganda ang kinalabsan. Mas lalong nakakenjoy ang forum na to.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    “With that said, talking about alternative forms of governments is futile, and, worse, an elite-only discussion.”

    I see your point there, a big percentage of our population would be more concerned about “where to get their next meal” or “where to sleep” or “how to buy medicine.” But I believe it only takes around 20% of the population to effect changes that will benefit the whole, the “critical few” can move the “trivial many.” A man dying of thirst in the desert would drink the sand if you tell him its water. What you call “elite” I call “empowered” the former I would reserve for people of wealth or Ateneans/La Salleans.
    Radical changes mostly come from the plebeian, hungry but empowered, not wealthy either – so theres nothing much to lose.

    • Harry on October 2, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    i’ve been waiting for 2 hours or so in here and there’s no sign of karah yet.


    could i possibly obtain even just your email add?


    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    “What does not kille me, makes me stronger.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

    Karah, this has been my favorite quote since high school but don’t get me wrong I’m no Hitler.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    “i’ve been waiting for 2 hours or so in here and there’s no sign of karah yet.


    could i possibly obtain even just your email add?


    Hehehe. Is “eyeballing” allowed in blogging?

  14. “Hey, take heart in this, even if it starts from the bottom, the cream always rises to the top.”

    thanks for the encouragement!

    MBW, yeah really in demand. and salary is 3 or four times higher than that of a nurse’s. and you’re right, it’s extremely back breaking. working as therapists, we’d need one as well for the toll it takes on our bodies.

    rego, i’ve missed your participation as well. you, bencard, and benigs seldom show up anymore. you’re the guys who ground me and keep me from straying too far to the left. in fact, it’s been an honor reading your own views into the various discussions here in Manolo’s blog. i think w/o lucid opposition tempering Manolo’s blog, it could’ve long degenerated into a hate blog like Ellen’s.

    i always see the points you raise, and why, i temper my own views as well.

    • ramrod on October 2, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Whatever happened to Francis? I miss his christian bashing rants.

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