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Kowtow
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on October 3, 2007 253 Comments 13 min read
Good to the last crumb Previous Resignation isn't a get out of jail free card Next

Late last night, the story broke: Arroyo decides ‘not to continue’ with ZTE deal–Bunye. Today, the story got to be clarified further: GMA explains ZTE fiasco to Hu (as another story put it, Arroyo ‘stops’ deal with ZTE; China prexy accepts decision).

Obviously, that was the main objective of the President, with specific, domestic political considerations on her mind. As her people put it, ‘Political instinct’ made Arroyo scrap ZTE deal — Palace.

Having achieved that, she can then attend to other things.

Contrary to speculations to the contrary, the President has a serious reason for visiting China. She’s there in support of Philippine investments overseas, a legitimate and praiseweworthy thing for any president to do, and which explains why she’d go to China when the Chinese themselves are enjoying one of the major holidays in their culture.

As the news has it, Arroyo inaugurates Razon container terminal in Shandong. After all, Razon now most powerful businessman, says De Venecia son. Those interested in the maritime ports industry might be interested in the blog Maritime Watchkeeper.

The main thing is that prior to the electrifying news arriving late in the evening from China, the Palace faithful had been mobilized to propose the party line: Palace wants Senate to stop NBN deal investigation. This was expressed by the Executive Secretary when the President left; in addition, after the President left, her husband returned: obviously well-briefed on what he, in turn, should be saying: Mike Arroyo: I never said ‘Back off’.

What I found very curious last night was that a couple of hours before the news of the President’s statement was released, the distinct possibility that the scheduled ZTE hearing for Thursday would end up being either canceled outright, or postponed, began to circulate. Obviously, coming at the heels of official Palace expressions of desire -for the hearings to end- this is what made the scuttlebutt take on the Wow factor.

Consider, first, that resuming the hearings would further add scrutiny to an already open can of worms: Probe of PDI, 4 solons sought over leak on secret meeting (for its part, the paper I write for says, PDI stands by story on Joker’s intervention in Neri’s testimony). The Senate, then, having already spent yesterday arguing its case before the Supreme Court (see No TRO on ‘Hello Garci’ probe; SC grills petitioners) and earning a minor victory (no TRO to stop the Hello Garci hearings) and faced with that probe called by an angry Joker Arroyo, and headed for a justifiable confrontation with Romulo Neri on his invocation of executive privilege, seemed poised for, well, a home run.

As the Inquirer editorial for today put it, in The battle resumes:

This returns us to the Senate, which is due to resume its joint committee hearings on the ZTE deal. There will be two issues immediately confronting the chamber. First, allegations concerning the conduct of the executive session last Thursday. This was meant to allow senators the opportunity to understand why Chair Romulo Neri of the Commission on Higher Education invoked executive privilege just as he had tantalizingly came close to revealing that the President had said more about Abalos’ bribe than just advising Neri not to accept the bribe.

Conflicting suggestions of improper behavior, either by senators or members of the Cabinet, in that executive session, have been made. One senator has asked whether these suggestions of improper, even scandalous, conduct justified the unprecedented move of some senators to reveal what took place. We say unprecedented, because the allegations of what happened during that executive session are unparalleled in the history of our Congress and perhaps any legislature in the modern era.

The second issue is whether or not to compel Neri to reveal what he knows but won’t say. Senators must decide if they will detain Neri and trigger, in turn, a case in the Supreme Court to settle, once and for all, whether the Cabinet member is right in invoking executive privilege. This is a confrontation that seems not only inevitable, but necessary. We cannot agree with Sen. Joker Arroyo that the Senate should quit while it is ahead.

It is by settling these two questions, which all hinge on Neri’s possessing information as to what the President knew, and when — and what she did or did not do, knowing what she knew — that checks and balances are asserted and the parameters of democracy are more clearly established. At stake is the ability of Congress to exercise oversight, of witnesses to use legitimate legal shields or hide behind legal barriers erected to cover up official wrongdoing. There is even the possibility that Neri’s value as a witness has been compromised, because he no longer has free will, and has been subjected to official intimidation — whether from the Senate, or the executive branch.

Except, the battle has been… well, to put it charitably, postponed. And this brings me to what got reporters scrambling back into action last night, even prior to the announcement by the Palace, that the President had ordered the ZTE deal “stopped”. Here’s the report by Malaya: Senate freezes probe into broadband deal. As their report puts it,

The freeze was a result of the decision to scrap an all-member caucus last night where a proposed hearing tomorrow was to be taken up.

The caucus was called to discuss how the Senate would pursue the inquiry after the resignation on Monday of Election Chairman Benjamin Abalos, the alleged broker of what was suspected as an overpriced supply contract with the Chinese company ZTE.

Earlier in the day, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the Senate investigation might not be relevant anymore after Abalos’ resignation.

“Ngayong wala na yung object ng kanilang investigation, ano’ng relevance noon?” he asked.

He added that President Arroyo “is very confident that things will somehow simmer down.”

Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, chair of the Blue Ribbon, the lead committee, said the failure to hold a caucus only means that no hearing has been scheduled.

He said the inquiry will definitely continue.

He said the committee has subpoenaed the NEDA Investment Coordinating Committee for all documents relating to the ZTE contract. He said the transportation department has already submitted the documents in its hands upon receipt of a similar subpoena duces tecum.

Congress was originally scheduled to start its All Saints’ Day break on Oct. 13. On Monday, it was announced at the Senate that the recess would be advanced by a week.

As of last night, when the buzz about either a cancellation or a postponement began, Senators were contacted and immediately responded vigorously: Senate to continue with ZTE hearings–Cayetano. The rhetoric from all the chairmen was all right: we will continue, never fear, etc., etc., although the views of some colleagues, such as Francis Escudero, was noticeably temperate while other senators complained they never got the memo: Senator puzzled over lull in hearings on broadband deal:

He said no hearings were scheduled this week because his committee needed to assess the status of the investigation, which led to the resignation of Benjamin Abalos Sr. as Elections chief following allegations of bribery.

Before he took the floor, Cayetano told reporters in a press conference that the hearings would be scheduled some 10 to 14 days from now, during the four-week congressional break.

He also gave as reasons the impending absence of senators, who are about to go on a break, and the absence of resource persons willing to speak about the deal.

Actually, the whole country didn’t get the memo.

So I can’t help but wonder at the confluence of events.

A newspaper finishes layout pretty early, and there’s no indication, for example, Malaya held the presses, which makes it reasonable to consider that its story on a cancellation (outright) of the ZTE hearings was, at one point yesterday evening, in the cards. On the same day the Palace expressed the desire the whole thing should be stopped -and knowing, as we do now, that Ermita spoke knowing full well what the President would later on announce, after the formality of her meeting with the Chinese president was concluded.

The Senate had the chance to have two more weeks of hearings, but decided to knock off work early, and all the vows of pursuing the hearings after their vacation, doesn’t explain the thing that puzzles me. Politics is about timing. It requires seizing the initiative, and doggedly refusing to relinquish it. But then, with things going in its favor, the Senate decides to, well, how else can I put it?

Back off.

And just when there were more questions raised, than settled, by the President’s statement from China. As Manuel Buencamino puts it,

Once upon a time Gloria Arroyo rightly laid out clear policy guidelines for the broadband network: build, operate and transfer; no loans; no sovereign guarantees; use and pay, rather than take or pay. Then one day, suddenly and without any explanation, she reversed those guidelines.

Can she tell us why the ZTE deal was so hastily approved that her Cabinet cannot even make up its mind whether it’s a supply contract or an executive agreement?

Can Mrs. Arroyo tell us why she allowed a contract of this magnitude to be signed even if it did not follow the proper sequence of steps as dictated by laws and regulations?

Can she explain why a concessionary loan is better than no loan at all?

Can she explain why it’s better to spend billions of pesos to own and operate an exclusive network that taxpayers will pay for whether the government uses it or not, rather than a network whose services taxpayers will pay for only when the government uses it?

Can she tell us how, and why, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rendered an opinion on a contract it never even saw?

Can she tell us why the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) did not furnish a copy of the contract to the DOJ when DOTC chief Leandro Mendoza admitted to the Senate that his department had finished reconstituting the contract on May 24, weeks before the DOJ rendered its opinion?

Can she tell us why she allowed Mendoza to keep the departments of Justice, Trade, Finance, Budget, the Executive Secretary, the Palace legal counsel and the public in the dark?

Is pushing through with the deal only a legal matter to be settled by the Supreme Court, or more important, is it a taxpayer expense that must be justified?

Meanwhile, the Palace suddenly has the means (and most definitely, the motive) to then pursue its prey (just when it seemed businessmen were beginning to start showing signs of increasing uneasiness about the Palace: see Tongue In. Anew, who has an interesting take on things).

After the primary prey of the opposition, the now ex-Comelec Chairman, has quit (entrusting his fate into the hands of our deeply respected Ombudsman, which, as this report indicates, is overflowing with the milk of human kindness: Ombudsman Gutierrez logs a record of going easy on Abalos, Comelec), taking him out of the game, the Senate takes itself out of the game, too, for a month.

And there’s also wiggle room in the Supreme Court: Motion to junk NBN-ZTE deal not yet moot – Supreme Court, by which I mean, there’s time to further buttress the Palace arguments by means of filing appropriate motions…

As Uniffors puts it,

Anyway, Gloria and Mike are on the ropes, to use a boxing term… The whole nation is waiting for the Senate to go in for the knockout… But what does the Senate do?… It decides to go on its All Saints Day vacation a week early.

Gloria and Mike will now have until Nov 5, at the earliest, to gather their wits, marshall their strength, and work their way back into the fight.

To be fair, the Senate’s decision to suddenly advance their vacation and to postpone the ZTE hearings indefinitely was not entirely Alan Peter Cayetano’s to make. It was a collective decision. (Maybe everyone collected. 200 each maybe?)

But here’s why we take Alan Peter Cayetano to task.

Remember those two impeachment hearings in the House? Remember how he and Chiz Escudero, led the charge for truth and all that against overwhelming odds?

Well, where the fuck is that crusader now? He didn’t even put up a fight.

I don’t know if this is the same Alan Peter Cayetano that we elected to the Senate so we would have someone to look out for us. Maybe the man we think is Alan Pater Cayetano is really Juju Cayetano, the fake candidate who ran for senator last May. That’s the kindest thought I can have for him right now.

Come to think of it, I’ve never seen Juju and Alan Peter in a picture together. Maybe because they’re one and the same now. Peke.

With breathing room the Palace, intends to make permanent: Spare First Gentleman, Neri from future NBN hearings–Palace, it now only has to face one: a potentially bruising battle for the first time ever, over the budget. House begins plenary debates on 2008 budget.

We all know that the greatest power of the House, is the power of the purse. A House inclined to be unpleasant to a President can go over the budget with fine-toothed comb, subject cabinet officials and presidential appointees to an inquisition, and unlike the Senate, it can do so without anyone really noticing -or with everyone watching if the House tells reporters to expect fireworks.

But instead of facing a battle on two fronts, the President, knowing Senators are off to attend the Interparliamentary Union gabfest, and so she can instead focus on, well, this story tells it all: ‘I have nothing to fear,’ says De Venecia on ouster rumors.

The antidote to threats of a House with a sudden zest for taking budget-writing seriously, is to say: look, for a whole month, JDV3 is going to get hammered by the Palace. And daddy, too.

Anyway, good news: Senate approves cheaper medicines bill.

And cool news: Super jet to touch down in RP next week.

And I think Sassy Lawyer is spot on why people should cut “Desperate Housewives” some slack.

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  1. You might be under medication or maybe you’ve got a headache and you got overdosed with the medicine you’re taking. I’ll leave you here coz I don’t have the time to talk with you.

  2. The Ca t How’s the performance of India’s own version of the NBN (National Broadband Network) to date? I’m not familiar with the system but is their NBN a DSL-type (cable) or it’s WiMax-capable (wireless).

    They are still in the broadband ADSL and a negiligible percentage on DSL not because there is no demand but the private operators need to get additional spectrum from the regulatory agencies that conctorl telecommunications in terms of granting radio spectrum,

    They are also working on the development of the BWA/WIMAX phase 1.

    And guess what, ZTE lost to Sterlite Optical Technologies Ltd. to design, develop, and implement a broadband and metro Ethernet network. The network will provide coverage in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, with capacity for 500,000 subscribers by 2009. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) agovernment run carrier has awarded the project for $41.64.

  3. ramrod:

    i thought you’re dr. evil because you’re trying to imitate the way he laughs. it should be me using expelliarmus because i’m harry clay and you’re dr. evil. where’s mini me?

    harry

  4. Hi Harry, just kidding. I can’t help myself everytime I see your name pop up. No, Dr. Evil is supposed to be GMA (notice the mole) and her sidekick “Mini Me” is Luli. hahahahahah

  5. MLQ3,
    As I have said before and saying it again, these opposition senators are doing GMA a favor by their laziness and unpreparedness in pursuing an investigation.

    Lahat gusto lang makita sa TV.

  6. the Cat,

    Are you familiar with the “we roam” of PLDT, I believe its very slow, is Globe’s “visibility” really better?

  7. “As I have said before and saying it again, these opposition senators are doing GMA a favor by their laziness and unpreparedness in pursuing an investigation.

    Lahat gusto lang makita sa TV.”

    My sentiments exactly!!!

  8. The Ca t How’s the regulatory environment on Telecommunications in India? Is it that strict or just full of red tape? I understand that INDIA’s Telecom Backbone remains to underutilized and untapped amidst India being the Outsouring Capital of the World. I forgot the details but I’ve read about this in the book: “A World is Flat.” Have you read that book?

    WiMax and all its variants are considered to be technologies in their SUNRISE stages. And in terms of Technology, India’s one of those emerging “regional superpowers” that wants to get ahead. Although extreme poverty is still rampant given their population, there was a rapid increase in the number of “middle-class” families (mostly beneficiaries of the Outsourcing and IT boom).

    Just wanna clarify the price tag, is it USD 41.64 Million?

  9. cAt, Jun Magsaysay was the only guy who managed a complete, thorough, damning investigation. I miss having him in the Senate. And he turned away all the President’s efforts to use him. So in return, the President ignored the RM Centennial. Sigh. I miss Serge, too, he always did his homework. There’s a way to be on TV and still do a good job.

  10. ramrod:

    or shall we say, mrs. evil? and mini-me? how about making an anime or a cartoon entitled: mrs. evil vs. the band (aka wrist band) (i suppose who this guy is, the one having his vacation in tanay).

    harry

  11. ramrod:

    chanced upon your question. here’s my answer. globe visility claims it can have a downstream speed of 1.4Mbps plus you’re talking of 3.5G here. i don’t know how much speed does weroam give downstream. are you a we roam user?

    harry

  12. “or shall we say, mrs. evil? and mini-me? how about making an anime or a cartoon entitled: mrs. evil vs. the band (aka wrist band) (i suppose who this guy is, the one having his vacation in tanay).”

    I thought about it before since the senator son is the exact but small version of the original, hair, mustache and all but decided against it due to humanitarian reasons.

  13. harry,

    Yes, for more than a year now and it gets lousier everytime, dial up is better but I need to have internet access wherever I go. We roam is edge/gprs whatever that is, the salesperson said that visibility is edge/gprs and 3g but I haven’t met a visibility user yet so I can ask if its worth the expense of switching.

  14. ramrod:

    that would be a sight – a tag team championship. in the red corner: mrs. evil & mini me. in the blue corner: wrist band & wrist band jr. let’s get ready to rumble…!

    harry

  15. GMorning folks, Karah,

    Browsing through comments here, wow! – I found you already have figures plus some pertinent info which you haven’t disclosed (yet?).

    Re:
    (a) Singapore: USD 4,470,000,000.00 or USD 0.42 per USD 10 of GDP.
    (b) Malaysia: USD 1,690,000,000.00 or USD 0.14 per USD 10 of GDP.
    (c) Philippines: 995,000,000.00 or USD 0.12 per USD 10 of GDP.

    In 2003 Europa World Year Book already published Malaysia military spending at more than 3 billion dollars US for 2002. So am a lil surprised that your Malaysia figures are only half of what was already published then.

    Am curious but where did you get those figures because my figures are slightly different (w/c, btw, I got from the net):

    (A) SINGAPORE:
    2007 Population: 4.5 m U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 116.8 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 4.7% UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    (B) MALAYSIA:
    2007 Population: 26.4 million U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 130.3 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 2.3 % UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    (C) PHILIPPINES:
    2007 Population: 86.7 million U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 99 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 0.9% UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    Malaysia’s 15th plan ups their military budget by some 1 billion US dollars (perhaps intended to catch up with Singapore.)

    By the way, ranking in military parlance is not so much how much a nation spends but what it buys that determines military reach or influence.

    For example, Britain and France spend far far less than US but are still global powers because a) they have conventional expeditionary navies and b) their nuclear powered and armed sumbarines can hit any target anywhere on the globe as and when they see fit.

    Britain and France’s reach extends as far as the US’s, granted the US has greater reach and weight of punch in conventional terms, but nuclear reach is the same nonetheless.

    The US exceeds both superpowers in terms of conventional strike because France and Britain can only attack with conventional cruise missile that is much less than US capability.

    Malaysia and Singapore in those terms (not nuke), have both missile (sea to sea and air defence) and submarine attack capabilities so have greater reach and if you like, influence than Philippines (maybe that’s why RP ranks 52?)

    I don’t honestly know the ranking in terms of miliraty reach or influence of the three countries. Your info up there is a good enough reference for me. Do you know what year the ranking was done?

  16. GMorning folks, Karah,

    Browsing through comments here, wow! – I found you already have figures plus some pertinent info which you haven’t disclosed (yet?).

    Re:
    (a) Singapore: USD 4,470,000,000.00 or USD 0.42 per USD 10 of GDP.
    (b) Malaysia: USD 1,690,000,000.00 or USD 0.14 per USD 10 of GDP.
    (c) Philippines: 995,000,000.00 or USD 0.12 per USD 10 of GDP.

    In 2003 Europa World Year Book already published Malaysia military spending at more than 3 billion dollars US for 2002. So am a lil surprised that your Malaysia figures are only half of what was already published then.

    Am curious but where did you get those figures because my figures are slightly different (w/c, btw, I got from the net):

    (A) SINGAPORE:
    2007 Population: 4.5 m U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 116.8 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 4.7% UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    (B) MALAYSIA:
    2007 Population: 26.4 million U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 130.3 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 2.3 % UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    (C) PHILIPPINES:
    2007 Population: 86.7 million U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division (2006)
    GDP 2005: 99 current US$ billions World Bank Data Profile Tables 2007
    Percentage of GDP spent on military 2004: 0.9% UNDP – Human Development Report 2006

    Malaysia’s 15th plan ups their military budget by some 1 billion US dollars (perhaps intended to catch up with Singapore.)

    By the way, ranking in military parlance is not so much how much a nation spends but what it buys that determines military reach or influence.

    For example, Britain and France spend far far less than US but are still global powers because a) they have conventional expeditionary navies and b) their nuclear powered and armed sumbarines can hit any target anywhere on the globe as and when they see fit.

    Britain and France’s reach extends as far as the US’s, granted the US has greater reach and weight of punch in conventional terms, but nuclear reach is the same nonetheless.

    The US exceeds both superpowers in terms of conventional strike because France and Britain can only attack with conventional cruise missile that is much less than US capability.

    Malaysia and Singapore in those terms (not nuke), have both missile (sea to sea and air defence) and submarine attack capabilities so have greater reach and if you like, influence than Philippines (maybe that’s why RP ranks 52?)

    I don’t honestly know the formal ranking in terms of miliraty reach or influence of the three countries except if I were make deduction based on the list of their assets (Jane’s would be a good source but haven’t got the world index book). Your info up there is a good enough reference for me. Do you know what year the ranking was done?

  17. mlq3, just woke up, it’s 6 am (edt) here. sure, i’ll look forward to that drink with you and rego in either boston or ny. as rego said, just e-mail me and i’ll give you my number. i’m sure we’ll have a thing or two to chat about.

    karah, thanks for the advice. i’ll take it to heart and add it to my coping mechanisms when emotions are running high; which is not infrequent, by any means.

    ramrod, i love the clash of ideas and hate the heckling but… it goes with the territory, i guess.

  18. I understand that INDIA’s Telecom Backbone remains to underutilized and untapped amidst India being the Outsouring Capital of the World.

    Thank you for the question.

    And here is something different with their regulatory agency, TRAI. They have consultation paper on how to manage the need for broadband growth.

    Here is the pdf of the consultation paper dated September 2007.

    http://www.trai.gov.in/trai/upload/PressReleases/495/pr17sep07no80.pdf

    You’re right. It is underutilized. The government run
    BSNL / MTNL together own more than 40 million copper loops in India, which are not open to private operators.

  19. Just wanna clarify the price tag, is it USD 41.64 Million?

    Correct to the last millions.

    India’s one of those emerging “regional superpowers” that wants to get ahead. Although extreme poverty is still rampant given their population,

    You’re right again and if this Broadband/Wimax is developed full blast, by 2010, India can boast that they are one of those with this latest technology when it is at its peak.

    Are we drinking the same tea? 🙂

  20. Are you familiar with the “we roam” of PLDT, I believe its very slow, is Globe’s “visibility” really bett

    I am not in the Philippines so I have no way of comparing the services.
    YOu can say that I am even a texting idiot ‘ cause i do not know how to text and i didn’t activate that feature in my cellponecumwalkietalkie.

    I am not a techie but my exposure is in preparation and evaluation of feasibility study and implementation of the project. So I do my homework.

  21. cAt, Jun Magsaysay was the only guy who managed a complete, thorough, damning investigation. I miss having him in the Senate.

    Mlq3,

    I share your observation.

  22. MBW I got the info from NationMaster(dot)com. I was trying to locate what year the Statistics were collated but didn’t find any date. Anyhow, I found another source – I think a more credible source. This time its’ globalsecurity(dot)org. Let me give the details below taking into consideration Defense Spending by Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

    Singapore (2005 estimates): USD 5.6 Billion.
    Malaysia (2005 estimates): USD 2.5 Billion.
    Philippines (2005 estimates) USD 837 Million.

    According to GlobalSecurity, Singapore ranks No. 21. Malaysia ranks No. 39. The Philippines ranks No. 59. Most of these expenditures are estimates. I would have liked to go to the library and see some recent Journals on Strategic and Defense Studies but don’t have the time yet.

    There are different ranking among different schools of thought. Some base the rankings on total expeditures, some based on GDP percentage, some even on GDP per capita. I would concur with your assertion that more than the spending, the HARDWARE should be considered but since there are thousands if not tens of thousands of HARDWARES, there must be a set of criteria to arrive at some scientific calculations – in terms of military might, military expenditure, military experience, military personnel, and so on and so forth.

    Just basing from GlobalSecurity, the USA spends some USD 623 Billion dollars for Defense. Their spending is growing by the year due to Afghanistan and Iraq (mainly because of the latter). A far far second is China which only spent USD 65 Billion (2004 estimates). Its a measly 10.4% of what the USA spends. China, Russia, France, and the UK are considered Military powers in their own regions yet the USA is the “sole superpower.” Japan spends a lot, I wonder where they spend their money? Since they aren’t allowed to have a standing Armed Forces, right? The agreement after WW2?

    I reckon there are a lot of types of Missiles – from small ones to mediam ones to what they call ICBM’s. There’s Surface-to-Air (SAM), Air-to-Air, Air-to-Sea, Sea-to-Air, Sea-to-Surface (Tomhawk Missiles?) Air-to-Suface (ACLS types), et cetera, et cetera.

    MLQ3 who might have access to General Appropriations document might give us an idea on what are the “items” that is spent by the AFP with reference to the yearly Budget. I think there are details except for the INTELLIGENCE FUNDS which I think does not need any scrutiny due to the nature of the item itself.

  23. “If only PORK BARREL FUNDS are utilized well with transparency (open bidding and open books which is quite impossible to be put in place in both Houses), it can help a lot of people.”

    karah, Slush funds or discretionary funds 0r Pork Barrel invite irregularities and partisan disbursement and they are not intended as campaign funds or personal funds for elected officials. But even here where transparency and corruptions are not much of an issue, a few months ago the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration had step out in Disgrace when it was revealed that He used the funds for Partisan purposes and without proper paperwork. The funds is intended for groups of identifiable immigrants not connected to the party or not for vote buying but the Auditor discovered that most beneficiaries of the funds are groups sympathetic to the party in government or even party members.. One group the Cricket Club (south asians) asked for 150 thousands for their facilities and handed a Cheque for 1 million and the balance is still sitting in their bank account for their own Pork Barrel.

    So my point is, you give a politician public money and give him discretion to spend it anyway he wish, chances and he’ll use it for his own benefits and his friends instead of the whole constituents.. and it is possible anywhere, only in our case it got caught in time and the “bad guys” pay for it dearly….

  24. Aha, pretty soon you will be an expert on military hardware!

    Look, if you really want to take this defence study seriously, some of the best reference books on defence all around are those published by Jane’s, very, very serious. For example, their Jane’s Fighting Ships is one of their long standing publications, of course updated regularly, it is THE bible of navies all over the world.

    Another one is Europa World Year Book, a must for anyone interested in geopolitics to have.

    There are 4 or 5 serious monthly and bi-monthly Asian defence journals published out of Malaysia and a couple in Singapore that are more or less tackles region’s defence and military. There’s one, owned by a friend of mine isn’t published on the web. There are hundreds of defence magazines, especialised military and hardware journals, newspapers in the English language alone.

    Best way to start familiarising yourself with hardware is by obtaining brochures and presentation manuals from defence companies (Not sure if they can send you brochures, literatures, etc. if you are not military defence or govt related or unless you are one of the industry agents.) (If you come my part of the world, I can get you some but can’t do it by mail to an unknown.)

    But I think, it’s a good idea to start with one type of hardware first and “master” it, just like what you are doing (very systematic approach, I’m impressed, really I am…), eg, missiles types, makes, makers, end users, then you can go into the general technicalities, speed, weight, other tech performance. If you are doing it as well as you are doing it now, you will be very very good at it.

    My turn to tell you the missiles in Malaysia’s arsenal:

    STARBURST (VSHORAD stands for very short range air defence) ground to air British made originally manufactured by Short Bros but company was bought by a French defence conglomerate in 1994; command line of sight as opposed to infra-red heat seaking missiles, i.e, US Stinger 6 km range (Stinger 5 km range)

    RAPIER(SHORAD stands for Short Range air defence) 23 km range ground to air British made through and through company now is known as BAe

    EXOCET 39 Long Range (39km range normally but has since been upgraded to 50km range) sea skimming, anti ship, anti surface long range, French made, originally by MBDA, a French company now incorporated into European defence and aviation conglomerate EADS

    General tech specs of these missiles and their upgraded versions are usually posted on the net (am surprised that tech missile specs are ACTUALLY POSTED on the net, unbelievable!) but price of missiles are usually well kept industry info and not normally found on the net!

  25. Karah, I’m amazed by your diligence… am actually wowed that a woman would be interested in serious aggressive military hardwared! Heh! Pretty soon you will be an expert on military hardware!

    Re numnbers: Our figures don’t vary a lot.

    Seems you are planning to seriously control modernization procurement by AFP? Hope so, they could do with some serious help there!

    Look, if you really want to take this defence study seriously (some of the best reference books on defence all around are those published by Jane’s, very, very serious, not only on listing of hardware, but on various defence issues, they compile serious analyses related defence, security and peripherals. Their highly qualified consultants on their staff and are called in by armed forces the world over to advise them.

    On their publications, to give you an example, their Jane’s Fighting Ships is one of their long standing publications, of course updated regularly, it is THE bible of navies all over the world.

    Another one is Europa World Year Book, a must for anyone interested in geopolitics to have.

    There are 4 or 5 serious monthly and bi-monthly Asian defence journals published out of Malaysia and a couple in Singapore that are more or less tackles region’s defence and military. There’s one, owned by a friend of mine but isn’t published on the web. There are hundreds of defence magazines, especialised military and hardware journals, newspapers in the English language alone.

    If I could give you advice, best to start familiarising yourself with hardware is by obtaining brochures and presentation manuals from defence companies. Not sure though if they can send you brochures, literatures, etc. unless you are military, defence or govt related or you are one of a particular industry local agents. (If you come my part of the world, I can get you some but can’t do it by mail to an unknown.)

    But I think, it’s a good idea to start with one type of hardware first and “master” it, just like what you are doing (very systematic approach, must say am impressed by how you approach this familiarization tack), eg, missiles types, makes, makers, end users, then you can go into the general technicalities, speed, weight, other tech performance. If you are doing it as well as you are doing it now, you will be very very good at it.

    My turn to tell you the missiles in Malaysia’s arsenal:

    STARBURST (VSHORAD stands for very short range air defence) ground to air British made originally manufactured by Short Bros but company was bought by a French defence conglomerate in 1994; command line of sight as opposed to infra-red heat seaking missiles, i.e, US Stinger 6 km range (Stinger 5 km range)

    RAPIER(SHORAD stands for Short Range air defence) 23 km range ground to air British made through and through company now is known as BAe

    EXOCET 39 Long Range (39km range normally but has since been upgraded to 50km range) sea skimming, anti ship, anti surface long range, French made, originally by MBDA, a French company now incorporated into European defence and aviation conglomerate EADS

    General tech specs of these missiles and their upgraded versions are usually posted on the net (am surprised that tech missile specs are ACTUALLY POSTED on the net!) but price of missiles are usually well kept industry info and not normally found on the net!

  26. Karah,

    “MLQ3 who might have access to General Appropriations document might give us an idea on what are the “items” that is spent by the AFP with reference to the yearly Budget. I think there are details except for the INTELLIGENCE FUNDS which I think does not need any scrutiny due to the nature of the item itself.”

    You can get a copy if you have friends from Congress – a couple of thousand pages thick and usually titled:

    General Appropriations Bill
    January 1 – December 31, 2006 or whatever.

    You’ve got a line by line, item by item enumeration of the appropriations.

    On defence appropriations, you will find the number of soldiers, lts, captains, etc, etc.

  27. Don’t know why Congress doesn’t permit public access to it – should be in public domain.

    I get one copy automatically every year through a friend even if I don’t need it anymore.

  28. karah,

    re LOA

    “Remulla said that at the height of the political crisis that gripped Malacañang from Jan. 19 to 20, 2001, he proposed to Puno and Angara that Estrada could go on leave, citing Article 7, Section 11 of the Constitution as the basis.

    “The Vice President could take over as acting president when the President is unable to discharge his functions,” Remulla said

    http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/hl/hl102989.htm
    (google: remulla letter erap)

    Section 11. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.

    (my mistake, Crispin is UP Law grad, HS @ Ateneo, elem @ LaSalle)

  29. Vic The wisdom behind the Pork Barrel I think is for Representatives to have access to funds that could be spent in their district. Since line agencies does not have the manpower and logistics to perform its duties like infra, livelihood, classrooms, the Pork Barrel funds could come in handy.

    The experience though is that Representatives use Public Money for purposes other than what they are intended for.

  30. MBW I’ve been in this Blog for only 3 days now. I find the Blog interesting and I sleep late just to respond to comments or post comments. Due to lack of sleep, it’s like I’ve got blackeyes with my eyebags. So, I rest my eyes from time to time. @[email protected]

    The AFP’s and PNP’s Procurement and BAC (Bids and Acquisitions) should be monitored closely. The budget might be meager but if spent well, the money could go a long way.

    If time permits, I’ll allot some of my free time to do some in-depth research and readings pertaining to Military and Defense matters. I just find the subject-matter very interesting.

    Books and journals, they are primary sources wherein facts were verified. The Net is also a good place to start. Will take note and check out Jane’s and Europa World Year Book.

    I’ll try to see if I can obtain some Defence/Military Journals. I think I can ask someone to obtain for me these stuff. Maybe some brochures and pamphlets – printed materials.

    Starburst (VSHORAD) and RAPIER (SHORAD) are considered SAM’s (Surface to Air Missiles), right?

    Obtained some info from Global Security(dot)org and this EXOCET AM.39/ MM.40 has a maximum range of 65 kilometers. What are the launch sites for these types of missiles? Ground, can these be deployed from the sea? (Submarine or Frigate/Destroyer/Carrier).

    Thanks for all the info. This is getting interesting for me.

  31. Pete Picking up from what we talked about in the past, there were exploratory talks on how GMA could be out of the picture. A post-GMA scenario. From how I understand it, an LOA (leave of absence) is merely a “temporary transfer of power.”

    As what is said on Section 11: “POWERS and DUTIES shall be discharged by the Vice-President as ACTING PRESIDENT.” This means that being an “acting president” (Noli if this scenario happens), there is still the possibility that GMA can RE-CLAIM her Presidency.

    This LOA (as we may call it) is something temporary NOT UNLESS: (a) A majority of the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. This is a case of WITHDRAWAL of SUPPORT. (b) A mere written declaration by the President that no inability exists, he/she automatically gets the power back.

    Now, there’s still a lot of process to follow after that. What I am saying is: Can we contend ourselves with a TEMPORARY SCENARIO or a more PERMANENT SCENARIO with reference to the idea of a “post-gma” Philippines?

  32. “Obtained some info from Global Security(dot)org and this EXOCET AM.39/ MM.40 has a maximum range of 65 kilometers. What are the launch sites for these types of missiles? Ground, can these be deployed from the sea? (Submarine or Frigate/Destroyer/Carrier).”

    I believe so, these are French made are they not? If I’m not mistaken these saw action in the Faulklands a few years back.

    Personally, I prefer the US cruise missiles and smart bombs for surgical precision, not to mention the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) if your into this shock and awe thing.

  33. Have to go to the office early tomorrow so I better have my forty winks early as well. See you guys again tomorrow.

    Ram So that you won’t complain no more with your present “we roam” service woes, you might as well stop using the Internet. (kidding). Try scouting for other services and maybe try it.

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