Farcical procedures

A business paper reports, Net effect of peso rise negative: Majority say well-being unchanged, but more report being ‘better off before.’ The column of Cielito Habito, On fearless forecasts, is instructive. First, he points out that,

When economic analysts made their 2007 projections about Philippine economic performance late last year or early this year, three things were not quite anticipated enough in formulating their projections or forecasts.

One, most had assumed that the foreign exchange rate would average near P50 to the dollar. The government had assumed it to be in the range P51-53 in drawing up the 2007 budget that was approved by Congress. Two, crude oil prices had been expected to be softer, following earlier episodes of above $70-a-barrel prices that had provoked near-double digit inflation in 2005. The government’s assumption was around $63-67 a barrel. And three, world economic growth–especially in the US, the world’s biggest economy and a dominant trading partner to most countries–was expected to moderate somewhat, but not differ substantially from the 2006 performance.

And then he tries to explain what’s happened since:

What happened? In the case of the exchange rate, the dollar turned out to slide more steeply than had earlier been anticipated. For the most part, it has lately been influenced by the US subprime housing loans crisis that hardly anybody anticipated (although there were some isolated voices warning of the problem even early on, and who are now able to say “I told you so”). Major central banks are also turning away from the dollar as a reserve asset, and unloading large amounts of it (China has reportedly done so recently). For us, it is also because the surge in OFW remittances continues to surprise, especially in the face of the apparent slowdown in the numbers of workers actually deployed overseas.

Surging crude oil prices are attributed to declining US petroleum product inventories, anticipated supply disruptions due to recent bombings in oil-rich Afghanistan and an oil pipeline in Yemen, continuously surging demands from rapidly growing Asian economies, and the continued weakening of the dollar. Meanwhile, the impacts of the subprime crisis on the real US economy are just unfolding, and most authoritative analyses as exemplified by that of Bernanke point to a short-term outlook that does not look good.

Now of course there is always something good and something bad in whatever’s going on, and the weak dollar means the peso helps absorb what could otherwise be a nasty oil shock; but it does mean adjustments are required all around and the citizenry isn’t seeing any adjusting among those in official circles. The result is a cranky population and a government (both administration and opposition) unable to appeal to the public to pull together for -what? The administration seems more stumped, since after all, it has the resources and the opposition does not, and it has the numbers in the cabinet and the congress which the opposition does not, so obviously, the burden of proof is on the administration.

And since it’s preached from day one that everything is a numbers game, then it ought to be given plenty of rope to hang itself with.

Hence my column for today, which was Don’t engage or dignify it. You can read the documents I mentioned over at my entry for today in Inquirer Current.

It was good to hear that the attitude towards the ruling coalition was the one adopted by the opposition. Read (UPDATE 6) Pulido complaint sufficient in form–House panel:

The committee’s approval of the motion came a little past 3:00 p.m. or before opposition members walked out after Arroyo’s allies rejected the supplemental complaint filed by lawyer and United Opposition spokesman Adel Tamano to strengthen the Pulido case.

Deputy Minority Floor Leader Roilo Golez said the opposition would not participate until the committee accepted the supplemental complaint as an “integral part” of the one filed by Pulido.

“It would be very awkward on the part of the member of the Minority to be part of the proceeding because precisely we don’t feel that this is an honest-to-goodness impeachment complaint,” Golez said.

“We don’t wish to do disrespect the committee but we’ve already made our position very clear Mr. Chairman — we don’t think it will be meaningful, it would be useful for this committee to deliberate upon what we feel is a sham complaint whose objective is to frustrate an honest-to-goodness impeachment complaint within one year,” he said.

“And therefore, Mr. Chairman we’d like to state that members of
the Minority don’t wish to participate in this proceeding for as long as the addendum and the supplemental submitted by Attorney Tamano is not part of it,” Golez said.

But Golez asked the committee to allow a member of the opposition to observe the proceedings.

Bravo! Additional details here: House justice panel rejects supplemental complaint.

I only wish TV would then cover the further deliberations of the administration coalition as it takes its own Punch and Judy Show to its absurd and inevitable conclusion -leaving the House ruling coalition being the sole source of the political noise the President herself provoked. And really, the main source of the noise is the President’s camp, not that of her critics.

Something tells me the President herself is getting confused. When she says (see Arroyo to Chinese-Filipino traders: Help me with detractors), I wonder how effective she think it’ll be. She wasn’t making a speech to a business organization known for opposing any president, ever, at any time, over anything serious. And at the same time, I don’t think Filipino-Chinese businessmen are different from any other kind, in that they’ve learned how to say “no” to politicians, including making themselves scarce during campaign season -the ability of governments to put the squeeze on businessmen has diminished, though not entirely disappeared, and in many ways it only makes sense for businessmen to assist local, and not national, politicians, except for those in industries (say power generation, or the operating of ports) that are highly susceptible to presidential and congressional intervention in, say, franchise renewals.

The President’s problem is that her own allies are getting greedy (see: Danding lays down terms for JDV ouster: Tells GMA he wants Fuentebella as Speaker), cranky, and demanding (see: Enrile turns up word war with De Venecia: Senator threatens more exposés against Speaker), and disobedient.

And so, the result is self-created scandals that no opposition worth its salt can ignore, much as I do believe that the political class would much rather let sleeping dogs lie and plan ahead for 2010. A kind of truce had resulted in May this year, when the body politic was relieved by the pressure valve known as elections, and where the public derived satisfaction by voting an opposition senate but kept the pork flowing through an administration-dominated House; the President would be kept on her toes until 2010 but otherwise, everyone could start planning for life after GMA. This explains, quite adequately, I think, Amando Doronila’s observation (which I think is true) that Resign-snap poll bid has no critical mass.

But no. Look at every controversy since, and it’s been a case of the administration shooting itself in the foot. Over and over.

Read this recent entry in the blog of Jove Francisco, for an insight into the continuing tensions within the administration coalition:

Ermita denied that Mrs Arroyo has any knowledge of what Villarosa revelead.

Which is quite interesting because the lady solon is a known and consistent companion of the President in her trips abroad. (I always see her joining the entourage whenever hinahatid namin si PGMA sa airport and kapag sumasama kami sa biyahe ng Pangulo).

Puno… supposedly one of the “RING LEADERS” of KAMPI distanced himself from the cash gifts revelation saying pa nga that he’s very hurt with what his party mates did, especially because HE WAS THE LAST TO KNOW.

And because Villarosa’s revelation made it clear that the cash gifts came from KAMPI and not from LAKAS as PUNO claimed weeks ago, he apologized to House Speaker Jose De Venecia’s for all the things he said.

Shades of PGMA’s “I AM SORRY!”

And then read this reflection, by Randy David, from last Saturday:

It may well be that the only thing that distinguishes the Arroyo presidency from any other is the manner in which cash-giving has become so much a part of the standard operating procedure of her office. No other administration has been known to resort to buying political favors so literally, as brazenly, and as routinely as Ms Arroyo’s. If this is what it takes to awaken us to the glaring discrepancy between the laws we profess and the dirty practices by which we conduct our national life, then surely we have her to thank.

In our quest for reform, we tend to ignore the realities that constrain our politicians and our electorate to behave in particular ways. We are engrossed in the easy moralism that permits us to express our disgust for the failings of our leaders in government. We cling to the belief that if only we can rid the nation of the present bunch of politicians, the country will surely be better. I think we forget that our leaders, like many of our voters, are no more than actors in a political stage governed by the hidden scripts of social inequality and dominance. We expect great things when we replace old actors with new ones, unaware that without a fundamental revision of the script, the performance will not be very different.

That script, the one that animates what we call traditional politics, provides not for the roles of government and opposition, as in the modern stage, but only for a set of patron and client roles. Under its terms, political power in our society is to be contested not by alternating majorities and minorities, but by a very small ruling class. Unchallenged in its dominance, this class creates the illusion of plurality and choice through the constantly changing composition of its factions.

What does all this tell us? It tells us that the modern institutions by which we are supposed to conduct the governance of our nation will never function properly so long as the masses are trapped in poverty. It tells us that the choices offered by our present political parties, including those that purport to represent the poor, are false. It tells us that political parties that are not themselves financed by their members are a sham. It tells us that public officials who buy their way into public office are no more than merchants or agents; they are not the leaders. It tells us that voters who are hungry and needy cannot be political subjects in a democracy.

This political culture is bound to change, albeit slowly, as more and more of our people get out of poverty, largely by finding work abroad. The change is becoming visible in our growing intolerance for money politics and in the impatience with which we scan the horizon for new leaders.

But even as that talks place, and even with Doronila’s observations in mind, what to make of New Philippine Revolution who argues,

The people don’t want snap elections. It is costly a solution for the people to even consider. What most of the people want, based on a survey which I conducted during the past 3 weeks is for the military to break out from the totalitarian grip of Arroyo and stage a coup. I say again–the people are ready for a coup. They are sick and tired of Arroyo and De Castro and they have realized that it is futile to give these two officials more time in Malacanan.

Will a coup solve these problems?

It will because it assures the people of the downfall of Arroyo and De Castro. Look, what we need today is for government to regain the trust and confidence of the people. Obviously, the people don’t trust the civilian politicians. It’s clear that the people HATE or even LOATHE their present set of leaders and what this country needs right now is a fresh infusion of new blood, of new idealists that would fight the grafters and buckle down to work afterwards. If the idealistic soldiers don’t realize this, that they have now the chance, the opportunity to succeed in their mission of ousting Arroyo, then, they must stop whatever they are doing right now and just, remain masochists.

As for myself, I think February 2006 showed how the public mistrusts any military adventurism, while it sympathizes with the emotions that drives soldiers to mutiny; I recall observing at the time that there seemed a general consensus, crossing the political divide among politicized officers, that they viewed themselves as inappropriate for actually governing the country.

This is part of a process dating back to the fatal day when a group of Gringo Honasan’s troops attempting a coup mowed down ordinary citizens who heckled and jeered them, back in the 1980s. Since then, even military rebels have adopted more of a peaceful, People Power orientation to their adventurism, than say, the Thais. In 2001, it was the military top brass joining the protesters; in Oakwood, it was an armed sit-down strike; and the ringleaders submitted to trial and incarceration. In 2006, frustrated Marines were going to march to join rallyists, but with their weapons pointed downwards and by informing their superiors they wanted to protest, first.

Such as it is, a certain amount of chivalry has been demonstrated, but those who’ve submitted to the legal process are getting short shrift. Read Ellen Tordesillas to see why -and how the soldiers have reacted:

The exchanges in the morning session, just like in the past three hearings, centered on the unsigned pre-trial advice which is supposedly one of the basis of the charges against the 28 officers. The prosecution headed by Trial Judge Advocate Col. Feliciano Loy pushed for the resumption of the peremptory challenges and called on Capt. Isagani Criste, one of the six officers who have not exercised their right for peremptory challenge.

(When a member of a panel is challenged peremptorily by the accused, he is automatically ejected from the court.)

Criste’s lawyer, Alex Avisado, objected and moved that the proceedings be suspended until the PTA is signed by AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon. The PTA, submitted by Col. Pedro Davila, staff judge advocate, to Esperon recommended the disapproval of the of the Pre-trial Investigation report (PTIR) prepared by the team headed by Col. Al Perreras, which recommended the dismissal of mutiny charges against all the 37 accused officers and the filing of the lesser charge of conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman against some of the officers.

Just like in the past hearings, the defense lawyers argued that the PTA constitutes the information sheet and unless it is signed, it’s merely a scrap of paper. As Frank Chavez, Miranda’s lawyer said, “I shudder at the thought that in a civilian court, a man is charged with murder based on an unsigned information sheet.”

The court instructed the trial Judge Advocate to write the Chief of Staff and get a written comment on the matter. At past 12 noon, the court went into a lunch break.

When the court resumed at 1:30 p.m., it ruled that it was denying the motion for suspension of proceedings until Esperon signs the PTA.

The court said Esperon’s Nov. 17, 2006 memo referring to both the PTIR and the PTA in creating the special general court martial to try the officers, suffices as basis for the trial.The panel’s president, Maj. Gen. Jorgy Fojas ordered the resumption of the challenges.

Chavez stood up and declared: “I cannot take part in these sham proceedings. Sham because the accused are not legally charged. I have advised my client that he has the right not to participate in these sham proceedings.” Then he walked out.

One after another the other lawyers followed with their own stand not to participate in the proceedings until they are given a copy of a signed PTA. I remember Attorneys Rolando Cipriano, Vicente Verdadero, Rodrigo Artuz, Alex Avisado, Nole Panganiban, Jose Miguel Palarca, Ronald Ubaña, Ma. Cristina Garcia, Johnmuel Mendoza, Dante Xenon Atienza, Ian Pangalangan. They all walked out.

Outside the courtroom, I saw troops with red armbands and shields arriving and scurrying to secure the place.

Attorneys Gilbert Gallos, counsel for Col. Orlando de Leon, and Trixie Angeles, counsel for Capt. Ruben Guinolbay initially stayed and moved for a reconsideration of the panel on their motion to suspend the proceedings until a signed PTA is produced. “The career and life of my client are at stake,” Angeles pleaded.

The court denied their motion. Col. Loy moved to appoint the two as counsels for the accused. At this point, Angeles stood up and said, “As a member of the legal profession, I fear of lending my presence to the validation of this illegal proceedings. I asked to be excused.” Then she walked out. Gallos made the same manifestation and also walked out.

The only one left was Maj. Pooten, the military lawyer. The court appointed him counsel for the accused. He told the court that the accused officers have a right to counsel of their choice. He said, “I am an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and at the same time a lawyer. I will not allow myself to trample upon the rights of the accused gentlemen officers and be a party to the denial of their Constitutional rights. And by these, your Honors, I ask to be excused from these proceedings.”

Pooten was ordered to stay in the court room. The court ordered the resumption of the peremptory challenge. Loy called one by one the officers that have not exercised their right of peremptory challenge. First was Capt. Criste, who underscored three points: “I am not availing of the services of the military counsel. I am not waiving my right to peremptory challenge. I will only exercise it in the presence of counsel of my choice and when I’m given a copy of the signed PTA.”

Next to be called was Capt. Allan Aurino who made the same manifestation as Criste. Same thing with Capt. Frederick Sales, 1Lt. Ervin Divinagracia, and 1Lt. Jacon Cordero.

I saw 1Lt. Homer Estolas raising his hand as the court was giving its decision saying that the six have been deemed to have waived their right to peremptory challenge. They didn’t know that there is still one who have nor done so. The TJA and the panel ignored Estolas, who has not exercised his right to peremptory challenge.

At this point, Col. Ariel Querubin stood up. Then all the officers stood up and followed Gen. Miranda to the door. Col.Arnulfo Marcos, the commanding officer of the custodial management unit, tried to stop the officers: “Huwag kayong lumabas. Balik kayo sa upuan. Cool lang.” (Don’t leave. Back to your seats. Stay cool.).

Maj. Jason Aquino told him, “Nakita mo nang binababoy kami. Manindigan ka naman” (You see that our rights are being trampled. Make a stand.)

Miranda ordered: “Padaanin nyo kami, kaso namin ito (Get out of our way. This is our case).” Marcos had to give way.

Unaware that they have not called Lt. Estolas to exercise his right to peremptory challenge, members of the court went on with their oathtaking. Afterwards, Lt. Col. Marian Aliedo told reporters, “The court is now duly-constituted.”

The manual for court martial, however, states that the court becomes fully constituted once the peremptory challenges shall have all been exercised by the accused.

Outside the court, Col. Segumalian saluted Maj. Pooten: “Basil, I’m higher in rank than you but I salute you for standing up for your principles.You know of course that what you did won’t please the military leadership.”

Pooten replied, “I just did what I believe is right. What ever happens, I would still be lawyer.”

The one thing an officer expects, I think, is to be treated honorably by fellow officers. But when that stops happening… When a court martial begins to behave like the House of Representatives, and when military judges start resembling the majority members of the Committee on Justice, the ability of the system, to define what is permissible political behavior and what is not, breaks down.

Now I don’t think a coup is imminent, and I won’t support one; neither do I think civil war is about to break out; it seems more logical, to me, that we will all simply stagger along until 2010 at which point the country will really see if the President decides to stay or go. But this belief of mine rests on nothing unusual taking place -because, if something unusual took place, say a War in the Middle East, I really don’t know if our society will be capable of surviving the repercussions without serious, and class-based, civil unrest.

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  1. Farcical procedures everywhere. One could only shake one’s head in disbelief. Even in the military where one expects the form of discipline within the rank and file, we see that there’s no more of that.

    In a democracy, the military is the guarantor of a Republic’s independence, the protector of its citizens and the guardian of its Constitution but the walkout is a veiled threat to the powers that be, i.e., “You treat us right, we obey, you treat us shit, we walk away!”

    In spite of the many coup attempts against Cory Aquino, she was able to DEFEAT the military because she was coming from a “higher moral ground”. During the time of FVR, the military went back to its institutional role, fighting rebels and the enemies of the Republic instead of fighting the ordinary citizens of the nation. But Gloria has none of that moral high ground.

    Our military is far from being perfect – it is highly politicized, many of its elements are corrupt, it has no real esprit de corps. Like it’s civilian counterpart, the military is disunited and dispirited.

    Having said that, the military had hopes of becoming professional but Gloria single-handedly destroyed the last fiber of professionalism in the military institution.

    Not content with having urged and organized a mutiny after which she led a coup d’état in 2001 to topple a duly Constitutional government, she decided to further corrupt the military – am not speaking of money here – to the bone by treating it like a band of merceneries.

    Because of this, Gloria will find that she has created a monster which she will not be able to control pretty soon; that in order for her to curb some ambitious folks in the military, she will have to corrupt the rest some more.

    Esperon knows this too damn well he can’t even sign the Pre Trial Advice because the his own investigators, the OJAG said in its Pre Trial Investigation Report that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge these officers with the military crime of mutiny.

    Everything is farcical in this enchanted kingdom of Gloria’s.

    • Acda on November 12, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    These so called “bribes” are merely GMA’s attempt on leveraging market forces into the political system. Being the knowledgeable economist that she is, surely, how can one argue against the efficiency of markets?

    This payola scandal was a result of an inaccurate price model. But to be fair, the algorithm in predicting the integrity elasticity of a priest is still a relatively new science. Be patient. Soon they will get it right. Everyone has a price, or so the market theorists say.

  2. On the court martial walkout: This walkout is proof that the military is grumbling (the topdogs in the military it seems are unusually “active in keeping the line of communication” with Gloria open so the military grapevine says). Unless she shows force and proves that she can deal with “erring” military in fire for fire fashion, Gloria is a goner. The rest of the military will have her head sooner or later!

    Our only hope is to have a snap election and re-establish a Constitutional government through a valid democratic exercise. If that happens, the military will go back to barracks and assume their proper role.

    A truly democratic government with a valid unquestionable mandate is our only defence against military adventurism.

    In a true democracy, the military is the last component of a Republic to go wayward when everything else seems to be lost. But when that democracy is wobbly, the military is the first to break from the Republic.

    Beware Gloria, you shall reap what you sow!

    • vic on November 12, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Question: Does the Process specify which complaints has to be entertained for the “once a year” only allowed every year for the impeachment of the President, the one first on the post, even if filed by the President’s Brother purposely to defeat the process or the strongest among the complaints as determined by the “co-called Justice Committee”?

    We all know that the Impeachment is the number game, but the voting and the number got to come up after the process has been clearly and transparently put into play, not with the alleged distributions of “brown bags” and the race of filing the fake or the what we now aptly call (thanks to the brains of the legal people the likes of Lozanos, the Pullidos as advised of course by the legal people within the Circles) the immunized complaints. And the Justice Committee, given the clue and maybe the Brown Bags (just like the game of charade) will act ignorant or pretend to have abide by the process and declares the First Past the Post complaints substantial and subsequently dismissed it, now with the number game as unsubstantiated … so predictable…

    When we played our charade
    We were like children posing
    Playing at games, acting out names
    Guessing the parts we played

    Oh what a hit we made
    We came on next to closing
    Best on the bill, lovers until
    Love left the masquerade

    Fate seemed to pull the strings
    I turned and you were gone
    While from the darkened wings
    The music box played on

    Sad little serenade
    Song of my heart’s composing
    I hear it still, I always will
    Best on the bill
    Charade

    • The Ca t on November 12, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    The people don’t want snap elections. It is costly a solution for the people to even consider. What most of the people want, based on a survey which I conducted during the past 3 weeks is for the military to break out from the totalitarian grip of Arroyo and stage a coup.

    Really? And how many are your respondents? And who are your respondents ? Sheesh.

  3. In a letter to his son, Ninoy Aquino explained why he was not participating in the military tribunal trying him on charges of murder, subversion and illegal possession of firearms.

    He told his son his action could earn him death by musketry or life imprisonment.

    “By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into he very jaws of death,” he said.

    “You may ask, ‘Why did you do it?’ Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen,” he said.

    “Futile and puny, as it will surely appear to many, it is my last act of defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.”

  4. According to Gandhi, the WILLING sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

  5. Manolo,

    This might catch your interest : http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=100491

    Please do help the good governor.

  6. Joselito,

    Here’s one supporting Gov Panlilio: Manila Bay Watch: In support of Governor Ed Panlilio

    • Harion on November 12, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    am reproducing here in full my blogpost today:

    Religiously leading us to more suffering:

    I don’t get it. What makes the Catholic church leadership so blind that it can’t see it’s belligerent stand against contraception as hypocritical and totally un-Christian. Is it because ever since the council of Nicea, it’s leaders have been sexophobic? Priests were forbidden to marry, women weren’t allowed to administer the holy sacraments, and for all intents and purposes, have morphed into the saducees and pharisees of Jesus’ time. Theirs is the sin of the first sinner – pride. And if you don’t believe me, look up what the Pope says about himself as the leader of the church. What kind of humble servant of God proclaims himself (or his office) as infallible? Is that like claiming God’s mantle as your own? Puhleeze. It took the Catholic church centuries before it would even admit it was wrong in persecuting Aristotle for claiming the earth was not the center of the solar system. And still the Pope insists on infallibility. As if there would be an antidote for asininity.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. The church, in its early beginnings, HAD to claim infallibility so as to preserve the church from breaking up. It had to maintain a united front, and a strong leadership that would not be unquestionable so as to survive. But we are past that stage now. Christianity is the biggest religion in the world, next to Islam. Insisting on that foolish pride just shows up these sorry church leaders as so unlike Christ. In fact, much of Christianity’s decline today can be traced back to its leadership. And it’s losing its faithful by the thousand day by day because it is unwilling to – yes, cast away its pride.

    I have a lot of bone to pick with this religion I was born into. Yes. Born into. I did not choose it, my parents chose it for me. As their parents before them did. But that does not mean I am less a believer of Christ and of God than them. It only means I don’t believe in the Church as it is today. Not these men in robes pretending only they have the keys of heaven. Not these hypocrites who ogle scripture yet fail to live the essence of it. We don’t need priests, the Pope, religious leaders to believe in God. We only need ourselves and God.

    In business, this is called eliminating the middle men.

    Here are Christ’s two greatest commandments

    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

    Unconscionable are conservatives who belligerently insists contraception as against God’s wishes. If you love your neighbor as yourself, does that mean you’d wish impoverishment on yourself because you had too many mouths to feed?

    Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments of these rabid purists.

    Contraception is murder – since when? since the sperm or the egg alone became alive? It won’t even be alive until it has joined, divided multiple of times, and formed a heart and have it start beating. By then, it’d be abortion. And we’re not talking about that, are we?

    Contraception is subverting God’s nature and plan – well, duh. He obviously trusted us more to give us enough brains to figure out contraception I’d doubt He’d object to us using it to better the lives of our neighbors.

    Contraception reduces women as sex objects – err. Nowhere in the bible has God even been as sexophobic as these anti-contraception wackos. We are enjoined to enjoy our sexuality. Sanctity of marriage won’t be broken just because both couples are enjoying their sex. They’re married after all. We’re not talking about adultery, or sexual depravity. We’re talking about two individuals, married, sharing their love for each other – as often as they want. Without having to bring to the world a child they may be unable to feed.

    Natural family planning is the way – yeah. Tell that to the marines, father. Meanwhile, while the rest of the world isn’t as sexually disciplined as you stuck up pricks, can we for the meantime help the poor by allowing them not to impoverish themselves even further?

    How do you help a drowning man?

    Stand by the shore and decry loudly that God created water and bouyancy laws and we should therefore not mess with it, or plunge in the water and save the drowning man?

    Because as blasphemous as it may seem, conscience dictates we save lives first before playing sanctimonious. And death by slow hunger due to poverty or death by murder is just both the same. And these wackos aid and abet poverty worldwide.

    Mass murderers, the fools.

    • Devils on November 12, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Religiously leading us to more suffering:

    I don’t get it. What makes the Catholic church leadership so blind that it can’t see it’s belligerent stand against contraception as hypocritical and totally un-Christian. Is it because ever since the council of Nicea, it’s leaders have been sexophobic? Priests were forbidden to marry, women weren’t allowed to administer the holy sacraments, and for all intents and purposes, have morphed into the saducees and pharisees of Jesus’ time. Theirs is the sin of the first sinner – pride. And if you don’t believe me, look up what the Pope says about himself as the leader of the church. What kind of humble servant of God proclaims himself (or his office) as infallible? Is that like claiming God’s mantle as your own? Puhleeze. It took the Catholic church centuries before it would even admit it was wrong in persecuting Aristotle for claiming the earth was not the center of the solar system. And still the Pope insists on infallibility. As if there would be an antidote for asininity.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. The church, in its early beginnings, HAD to claim infallibility so as to preserve the church from breaking up. It had to maintain a united front, and a strong leadership that would not be unquestionable so as to survive. But we are past that stage now. Christianity is the biggest religion in the world, next to Islam. Insisting on that foolish pride just shows up these sorry church leaders as so unlike Christ. In fact, much of Christianity’s decline today can be traced back to its leadership. And it’s losing its faithful by the thousand day by day because it is unwilling to – yes, cast away its pride.

    I have a lot of bone to pick with this religion I was born into. Yes. Born into. I did not choose it, my parents chose it for me. As their parents before them did. But that does not mean I am less a believer of Christ and of God than them. It only means I don’t believe in the Church as it is today. Not these men in robes pretending only they have the keys of heaven. Not these hypocrites who ogle scripture yet fail to live the essence of it. We don’t need priests, the Pope, religious leaders to believe in God. We only need ourselves and God.

    In business, this is called eliminating the middle men.

    Here are Christ’s two greatest commandments

    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

    Unconscionable are conservatives who belligerently insists contraception as against God’s wishes. If you love your neighbor as yourself, does that mean you’d wish impoverishment on yourself because you had too many mouths to feed?

    Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments of these rabid purists.

    Contraception is murder – since when? since the sperm or the egg alone became alive? It won’t even be alive until it has joined, divided multiple of times, and formed a heart and have it start beating. By then, it’d be abortion. And we’re not talking about that, are we?

    Contraception is subverting God’s nature and plan – well, duh. He obviously trusted us more to give us enough brains to figure out contraception I’d doubt He’d object to us using it to better the lives of our neighbors.

    Contraception reduces women as sex objects – err. Nowhere in the bible has God even been as sexophobic as these anti-contraception wackos. We are enjoined to enjoy our sexuality. Sanctity of marriage won’t be broken just because both couples are enjoying their sex. They’re married after all. We’re not talking about adultery, or sexual depravity. We’re talking about two individuals, married, sharing their love for each other – as often as they want. Without having to bring to the world a child they may be unable to feed.

    Natural family planning is the way – yeah. Tell that to the marines, father. Meanwhile, while the rest of the world isn’t as sexually disciplined as you stuck up pricks, can we for the meantime help the poor by allowing them not to impoverish themselves even further?

    How do you help a drowning man?

    Stand by the shore and decry loudly that God created water and bouyancy laws and we should therefore not mess with it, or plunge in the water and save the drowning man?

    Because as blasphemous as it may seem, conscience dictates we save lives first before playing sanctimonious. And death by slow hunger due to poverty or death by murder is just both the same. And these wackos aid and abet poverty worldwide.

    Mass murderers, the fools.

  7. Manolo:Idea for B & W

    “Activists exasperated at the failure of diplomacy to apply pressure on Burma’s military regime are resorting to a new means of protest against the regime’s recent crackdown: sending female underwear to Burmese embassies.

    The move is a calculated insult to the junta and its leader, General Than Shwe. Superstitious junta members believe that any contact with female undergarments – clean or dirty – will sap them of their power.”

    Let’s start “Used Panties For Esperon ” (UP for Esperon)

    • Jao on November 13, 2007 at 12:04 am

    “Now I don’t think a coup is imminent, and I won’t support one; neither do I think civil war is about to break out; it seems more logical, to me, that we will all simply stagger along until 2010 at which point the country will really see if the President decides to stay or go. But this belief of mine rests on nothing unusual taking place -because, if something unusual took place, say a War in the Middle East, I really don’t know if our society will be capable of surviving the repercussions without serious, and class-based, civil unrest.”

    Well, war is coming Manolo. Bush is itching to find a reason to invade Iran. Expect trumped-up evidences to again be waved by this madman as valid claim to invade.

    Staggering along until 2010 takes 3 years. Peachy isn’t it?

    Dum-de-dum-dee-dum! Tick, tock, tick, tock.

  8. In your opinion,who is the worst ever Philippine President?

    if,interested pls vote in my blog

    • nash on November 13, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Coup and snap election won’t prosper unless the CBCP abuses the pulpit again like they did during Cardinal Sin’s and Erap’s time, using words like “battle between good (GMA) and evil (Erap)”……

    That sadly, is the reality.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 5:14 am

    this ridiculous practice of “walking out” of proceedings, be it judicial or legislative, by sore participants is unsportsmanlike, at best and contemptuous, at worst. it is a childish, uncivil exercise that has become a knee-jerk reaction whenever one disgruntled party is getting the better of an adversarial activity, as though the action would gain them any advantage.

    the walking out of the opposition from the congressional committee after the latter refused to consider the tamano “amendment” to pulido’s complaint, and the walk-out of the defense panel in the hearing of the aborted coup participants are just two recent examples of such shameful practice. only in the philippines!

    i say discipline those recalcitrants in congress and those members of the bar who show contempt of the respective tribunals they are appearing in. they are no better than irresponsible kids in adult’s clothing.

  9. Bencard:

    this ridiculous practice of “walking out” of proceedings, be it judicial or legislative, by sore participants is unsportsmanlike, at best and contemptuous, at worst. it is a childish, uncivil exercise that has become a knee-jerk reaction whenever one disgruntled party is getting the better of an adversarial activity, as though the action would gain them any advantage.

    Reminiscing 2001?

  10. Administration: “There can only be one impeachment complaint.”

    Opposition: “Sham

    Ilan ba talaga, Sham o Isa?

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 6:27 am

    “this ridiculous practice of “walking out” of proceedings, be it judicial or legislative, by sore participants is unsportsmanlike, at best and contemptuous, at worst.”

    but it was okay for joker et al to have done it during the erap impeachment, yeah?

    it was not okay to hedge on number game then during the erap impeachment, yeah? and then you now hum this mantra that democracy is nothing more than number game.

    the perfection of this chain of pambabastos started with the abortion of the constitution erap impeachment trial.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 6:28 am

    constitutional, rather.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 7:20 am

    Cieleto Habito on, “For us, it is also because the surge in OFW remittances continues to surprise, especially in the face of the apparent slowdown in the numbers of workers actually deployed overseas.”

    Habito would have understood the strong OFW remittances better if he just look at the breakdown. 56% is from North America with 90% from US and 10% from Canada. Middle East is 15%. The FilAms are the backbone of the OFW remittances.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 7:33 am

    inodoro, i don’t condone joker et al.’s walk-out. neither the rejection of the rule of the majority in 2001. it was the broad cross-section of a sufficient number of people that sealed the fate of the estrada presidency. the present copy cat opposition is obviously hoping to ignite a spark but i think their matches are wet. the defense lawyers’ walk-out is a blatant defiance of their oath and should be dealt with accordingly.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 8:19 am

    it was the broad cross-section of a sufficient number of people that sealed the fate of the estrada presidency

    define sufficient? the cabal of coup plotters working to install gma while the text party was going on at edsa? is that what you mean by broad cross-section? why do you refuse to recognise the factuality of the interview nick joaquin had with mike?

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 8:24 am

    inodoro, i don’t condone joker et al.’s walk-out. neither the rejection of the rule of the majority in 2001.

    you don’t condone? say so, upfront. you are using doublespeak here. much like the way you did in appealing to mb for his sense of decency when he raised his issue about the poor girl’s death while not doing the same to gma, whose morbid political take was what mb was reacting to.

  11. Bencard,

    So much for your logic there. Joker and his cohorts walked out in that impeachment complaint. Thats it.

    tit for tat.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 8:28 am

    the defense lawyers’ walk-out is a blatant defiance of their oath and should be dealt with accordingly.

    yeah, right. so serge apostol got the pnoc seat, and davide has been endorsed to the u.n.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Cielito Habito on, “In the case of the exchange rate, the dollar turned out to slide more steeply than had earlier been anticipated”.

    That would be great advantage for the Philippines. It means that the stronger peso has better purchasing power in the purchase of oil. That also explain why the inflation is lower than expected since cost of energy have not baloon so much due to appreciation of peso.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 8:50 am

    “But this belief of mine rests on nothing unusual taking place -because, if something unusual took place, say a War in the Middle East, I really don’t know if our society will be capable of surviving the repercussions without serious, and class-based, civil unrest.”

    OFW remittances from Middle East is only 15% of total remittances. It is not even affected by the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 8:59 am

    inodoro, you can cry an ocean about the 2001 walk-out. there’s not much else you can do about it. you cannot sanction the ones who did it. they happened to be on the winning side. the current derelicts are still sanctionable. losers are in no position to dictate the outcome of any contest.

    read again and try to understand what i meant in my response to mbuencamino regarding using the little girl’s death for political purposes. obviously, you missed it either because you are intellectually ill-equipped or you are deliberately misconstruing it.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 9:10 am

    In the strong peso survey by SWS, 63% of respondents with OFW and 71% of respondents without OFW indicated no change or better now.

    The clear majority of the population have not felt the fears of strong peso.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 9:13 am

    mbuencamino, no, i don’t think “it’s alright” to use the little girl’s dead body for anything by anyone including the gloria-haters in this blog. have a little decency naman, o.k., mb?
    November 10th, 2007 at 5:17 am

    politicizing the tragedy, as some commenters here are doing, is the reprehensible, even macabre way of “using” the girls death to advance cheap personal political agenda.November 10th, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    as us mentally ill-euipped harry potter fans would say, where is she-who-cannot-be-named? or is your tongue cursed?

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 9:15 am

    btw, bencard, i have an i.q. of an imbecile. you can embrace your superiority complex. but am glad am not intellectually blind.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 9:15 am

    “mbuencamino regarding using the little girl’s death for political purposes”.

    People don’t realize that the parents of the little girl was irresponsible to begin with. Having 7 kids with little income.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 9:16 am

    or dishonest with such blatant doublespeak. reminds me how orwellian you can get.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 9:42 am

    inodoro, it appears that you conveniently omitted my response to mbuencamino wherein i spelled out the dichotomy of what pgma’s reaction to the tragedy, and what the hate-gloria commenters were doing, i.e., virtually blaming gma for the death to foment more hatred against her.

    define “sufficient”? in the context of edsa 2, it is the number of people that cowed the disgraced president into fleeing and abandoning the office, leaving his constitutional successor to assume the power and the responsibility of the presidency.

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Bencard,
    there are more than sufficient number of people right now that wants arroyo out too.

    unlike arroyo however, Erap did not hose down teofisto guingona with water cannon and muzzled the people from protesting with state of emergency declaration and no permit no rally bull dung.

    or bribe everyone that is bribable with impunity.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 11:06 am

    levi, did your “sufficient number” ever reach more than 500,000 at any given time, anywhere it was completely free to rally (anywhere except mendiola)? if so, how come pgma is still at the helm, presiding over an ever improving economy that was in shambles when she took over?

    bribe anyone? the problem with such accusation is that it is easy to make but not easy to substantiate. has anyone been arrested, indicted or convicted, or are people who claims to know about this alleged bribery (such as you, obviously) just don’t have the cujones to come forward to testify under oath against a specific perp?

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Bencard, unsporstmanlike? and what do you call the majority congressmen playing judge, referee, and participants all at the same time – without calling it fairly and objectively?

    it’s like Daryl Peach refereeing his own match agst Gomez, calling all Gomez’s legal shots as fouls, and arranging the 9 balls in the triangle improperly.

    yeah. let Gomez plod on and endure such sportsmanlike conduct. then you can talk to me about walking-out as disgraceful conduct.

    what do you expect the opposition to do? they’ve tried to play by the rules up to the last moment, lacking the numbers, lacking logistics – and what does the majority do? still cheat its way by calling the shots unfairly.

    sa Tagalog, eh sa para saan pa ang magpatuloy sa gaguhan na ito kung ganon at ganon rin naman, iisa lang ang hahantungan ng mga pangyayari?

    its like offering yourself at the mercy of judge who’s already decided the case before evidences and arguments have been given.

    talk to me abt your rule of law when it is working as it is intended to work. and not as it is being subverted.

  12. “Democracy, more than any other political system, depends on a modicum of honesty.”Norman Mailer

    1)”I have decided not to run for president during the election of 2004,” Arroyo said in Baguio City where she was speaking at a ceremony to mark Rizal Day in honor of Jose Rizal, a national hero whose death led to the creation of the Philippines Republic in 1898.

    2)“I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election had already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.”GMA

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 11:09 am

    People don’t realize that the parents of the little girl was irresponsible to begin with. Having 7 kids with little income.

    Oh, so now the parents are to blame. Of course! remind me to slap this to your face when in your next lifetime you are born dirt poor. then let us see how you claw out of that poverty when society and the church conspires against you. prohibiting you to have lesser kids by virtue of sanctimony and marginalization. yeah right. these parents are so educated they know how to be responsible family planners.

    the best antidote for asinine statements like these is karma. you won’t be mouthing such things if you’re the one in the parent’s shoes. then let’s see you practice family planning w/no education to speak of and no idea there’s a better life than hand-to-mouth existence.

  13. Manila Bay Watch wrote :

    Joselito,

    Here’s one supporting Gov Panlilio: Manila Bay Watch: In support of Governor Ed Panlilio

    ____________________________
    Thank you Manila Bay Watch.

    Fr. Ed really needs support. He’s being isolated by almost Pampanga mayors and PB members because there is no money in good governance.

    Because of their canine loyalty to GMA and the Pinedas,
    they are doing everything to discredit or get rid of Among Ed.

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 11:22 am

    how come pgma is still at the helm, presiding over an ever improving economy that was in shambles when she took over?

    Lolo Ben,

    Hmmn, i also wonder why arroyo is still there. Have you ever heard about makapal ang mukha?

    improving economy?

    hahaha, what economy?

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 11:34 am

    jao, subversion of the rule of law carries sanctions that don’t go stale or sterile on account of non-application at a given time. guilty parties will not go unpunished provided they are found so under the rule of law and upon due process. those are the key words: rule of law and due process. one is ineffective without the other. outside of these principles, everything is tyranny and/or chaos.

    be careful about labeling every loss “gaguhan”. that’s why nothing ever gets conceded and settled in the philippines.
    i know of several pinoy organizations in the u.s. whose election results are, more often than not, contested because the loser just can’t accept defeat. in politics, kung wala kang boto, wala kang panalo.

    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 11:37 am

    lolo ben? baka mas matanda ka pa sa akin o di kaya nama’y mas mukha ka pang “lolo” keysa akin. mahiya-hiya ka nga!

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 11:51 am

    bribe anyone? the problem with such accusation is that it is easy to make but not easy to substantiate.

    you really should come home and see it for yourself Lolo Ben. It is easy for you to insulate yourself from this kababuyan when you’re several thousands miles away.

    again, you resort to your favorite comfort zone of legalistic crap when the issue at hand is strictly political. I say this again:

    there is politics and there is lawyering. Reserve your lawyerly mumbo jumbo when finally Gloria Arroyo will have her day in court. As of now Gloria Arroyo is playing and is subjected to the rules of politics.

    When people perceive her as corrupt and a liar the burden of proof is on her part to prove otherwise if she hopes to win their continued political support. She is not just some poor and vulnerable labandera from Lubao. She has all the resources of the presidency at her disposal to dispel the accusation and come clean if she really is clean. She does that by the principle of accountability, by being credible and honest.

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 13, 2007 at 11:53 am

    levi, did your “sufficient number” ever reach more than 500,000 at any given time, anywhere it was completely free to rally (anywhere except mendiola)?

    who defines 500,000 sufficient enough? the metro manila text party crowd, or the few cabal of conniving coup plotters and military putschists?

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Sorry Lolo Ben, gusto mo old daddy na lang para mas angkop dyan sa californication mo.

    I’m 32 Lolo Ben, ikaw 25 pa lang?

    • ronin on November 13, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Equalizer: That ‘UP for Esperon’ plan is hilarious. 🙂

    However, I don’t think it would work within our culture. Remember male singers getting pelted with panties by female fans gone berserk during concerts? The performers love it. Or how about the mass popularity of ditties like ‘Bikining Itim’?

    Burmese guys might get insulted by having female undergarments thrown at them, but many Pinoys might take a different view.

    The Burmese and other Asian neighbors apparently take more seriously the uneven gap between the genders.

    • tonio on November 13, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    your blood pressures, people.

    i tend to go with mlq3 on this one. the country is going to stumble along till 2010. simply because no one wants to play gloria at her own game.

    haven’t you noticed the standard government line has been, “prove it in court”? the administration can stumble it wants, its indiscretions revealed as dirty laundry for all to see. but nothing will happen. all because it is not verifiable in court, and because if any court does handle it, the guilty will just pay their way out or get a pardon.

    can someone from the opposition, or from anywhere think of the country for once and move from rhetoric to hard, factual evidence? if there is any evidence to begin with.

    what happened to Trillanes’ posturing? where are the witnesses? where is this evidence? or in fact, what of everyone else? again, my call to him is put up or shut up. otherwise, you’re no different from the people you reportedly despise so much.

    what people need here are hard, verifiable facts. screw witnesses, the true value of testimony can never be realized in this climate. hard data. data that conforms to the rules of evidence in court. no hearsay. no crap.

    someone, please lay down the cards on the table. if the damning evidence is out there. then please, show it. because right now, all the administration is doing is playing to the public’s attention deficit disorders. nothing is going to be solved at this rate. give us real information, and keep this information fresh in the minds of the people.

    otherwise, either grin and bear it, or start downloading those immigration forms from the websites of foreign embassies.

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