Mar 12

A Yacky story

So there was a marathon hearing, at the Senate, see Inquirer.net’s Running Account. Also, see Who is Leo San Miguel?

A reader of this blog “phil,” observed (comment #221, yesterday’s entry),

If anybody was watching before the beginning of the Senate hearings with San Miguel, he got a call before the hearing started and if you pay attention there was a look of worry (fear?) in his eyes. I think there may not be a smoking gun but all the evidence put together should be enough to file a case against the personalities involved.

The scene noticed by the reader turns out to be a Yacky Story. That’s the nickname of Marcelino Agana IV, who supposedly works for the Presidential Legislative Liason Office (but has been mentioned, too, as staff from the Office for the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, e.g. Manuel Gaite). One only wishes we still had an official government directory to sort out such things, as in the old days. But anyway, Yacky Agana, who was active in the administration campaign and who is mentioned in Bohol as a candidate for the House in 2010,

Nothing beats Abante Tonight’s lurid storytelling style:

Nauna rito, nabistong nakipag-usap si San Miguel sa isang alagad ni Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ilang oras bago ang takdang pagharap nito sa Senado.

Sa pagtatanong ni Sen. Jamby Madrigal, napilitan si San Miguel na ituro si Yacky Agana, consultant sa Legislative Liaison Office na nasa pagtitimon ni Presidential legislative adviser Jay Lagonera.

Bago ikinanta ang pakikipag-usap kay Agana, paulit-ulit ang pagtatanong ni Sen. Loren Legarda kay San Miguel kung sino ang huli nitong nakausap bago humarap sa hearing at wala itong maibigay na kasagutan, maliban kay Sen. Panfilo Lacson na ka-meeting nito noong Lunes ng gabi.

Bagama’t walang direktang pagtukoy si Madrigal na posibleng ‘nirendahan’ ng Malacañang, sa pamamagitan ni Agana, agad itinanggi ni San Miguel ang pinupunto ng lady solon.

It’s Jake Lagonera, actually. Anyway, Panfilo Lacson went to town with that telling detail: NBN witness talked to ‘Ma’am’ on the phone, says Lacson. And equally expectedly, the Palace issued a rebuttal (of sorts): Palace: Arroyo ‘relieved’ by San Miguel testimony. He said, she said, did Yacky dunnit?

Observers like The Mount Balatucan Monitor were furious, and insist that it’s just a temporary setback, while others like A Simple Life were delighted by how impotent Panfilo Lacson proved in the face of San Miguel’s assertions. The thing is, there’s been enough talk -and paranoia- of a witness ending up as a Palace Trojan Horse, to suggest that Lacson fell into a trap he ought to have known was waiting to be sprung.

As Splice and Dice puts it (I assume Ben Tumbling in his entry is administration stalwart Sen. Lito Lapid),

The untamed Trojan Horse came to be Leo San Miguel…

Leo San Miguel’s statements during the Senate hearing are incredible for two things. First, as a seasoned IT expert and businessman, it is incredible of him to labor for ZTE as a technical consultant without contracts or official documents. Out of his overwhelming trust for the Chinese corporation, San Miguel braved undocumented waters for a promising harvest to the tune of $1.64M. What can one say? Some people are becoming more and more incredibly trusting these days, they now come in packages, or gangs, or greedy groups, or “jajos” for “borjers”.

And second, it is incredible in the sense that, while denying knowledge on the alleged “tongpats”, Leo San Miguel nevertheless testified that ZTE officials met Benjamin Abalos a couple of times, both in China and in Wakwak. Which badges Abalos as a blatant liar during his appearance at the Senate hearing.

I for one wouldn’t buy the argument that Abalos troubled himself to travel all the way to China not to discuss the NBN deal with the ZTE officials but to play golf…

What I do remember from Ben Tumbling, who also happens to be the chairman of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, are his words of wisdom that, for all its brilliance, should help us understand the core of the ZTE-NBN anomaly:

“There what it takes to be. Then we shall so be it because it is. To do or not to is in the what, now or what else. Without which there never to you!”

Well said, Ben Tumbling, well said. Must we add, “and world peace”?

Lawyers weighed in too, of course (see Notes of Marichu C. Lambino). As The Warrior Lawyer observed,

To be sure, Mr. San Miguel, looking relaxed and composed, made damaging declarations as regards himself. He admitted being a “technical consultant” to the ZTE Corporation and having received substantial sums without documentation. He also confessed to expecting substantial “commissions” should the national broadband network deal push through. At the very least, he opens himself up to charges to tax evasion. But there was nothing in his statements to directly link Malacanang and GMA to the corrupt undertaking, which was what everyone was expecting to hear.

So then, not all was lost yesterday, as The PCIJ reports, Leo San Miguel provided insights into The language and manner of doing (shady) business. Beyond that, the best he could offer up was a denial of allegations made by the other witnesses, although some of his allegations began to unravel, such as his denying he sent an e-mail on overpricing, with its incriminating attachment, claiming afterwards, when Dante Madriaga showed reporters it was still in his Yahoo inbox, that the attachment had been tampered with (those in the know, technology-wise, can explain whether this is possible or not). More on how these deals work is in How gov’t projects (like NBN and Cyber Ed) get overpricedn How gov’t projects (like NBN and Cyber Ed) get overpriced.

San Miguel also could not -because he would not, on grounds his knowledge was purely “technical”- go into why people like Benjamin Abalos were in meetings he attended, both at home and abroad. This clever dodge allows him to feign ignorance over the reasons behind expanding costs for the project as it evolved.

Thads Bentulan, who’s achieved modest fame as a columnist (“Street Strategist”) for Business World with his “Hyperwage Theory,” apparently combed through the testimony of Dante Madriaga and came up with a PowerPoint presentation on how the commissions kept bloating the NBN-ZTE Deal (download Derivation_of_the_329_Million.pps). As with all presentations, caveat emptor but makes for an interesting look-see. Together with ‘Tongpats’ e-mail of Leo San Miguel to Dante Madriaga, submitted to the Senate, 11 March 2008.

The problem with marathon hearings is that at the end of them, when something needs to be done, no one may be around to do it. By the time some senators believed witness Leo San Miguel should be cited in contempt for perjury, the Senate lacked a quorum to authorize a citation. But then the Senate’s problems started quite early on: having submitted no affidavit under oath, there was no means to challenge the witness on the basis of his testimony before the assembled committees. At best, his testimony stood alone in contrast to the testimony of other witnesses. And whatever holes there were in San Miguel’s testimony, the long duration of the hearing meant that the holes weren’t focused on enough -or zeroed in on, too late.

Certainly, there was great cause for celebration i in Mandaluyong and in the Palace, Italian Right Wing-style, last night!

Incidentally, A Simple Life believes, with some reason, that unless things change, the NBN-ZTE issue is headed for a draw or stalemate. Those who play chess can judge whether the analogy used by the blogger is apt or not. New Philippine Revolution on the other hand things there’s a chance that it call all be the calm before the storm (or not).

John Nery’s column the other day, How Jun Lozada may lose his groove, continues a debate that’s been taking place among those trying to situate present-day events according to the framework of past event’s:

It does not seem to me that it is the middle of February 1986 or the second week of January 2001 all over again.

The more I think about it, the more it strikes me: We are back in 1984 or 1985, when the outrage over the assassination of Ninoy Aquino had put the Marcos regime on the defensive–but people power was not even a dream.

To be sure, there are two crucial differences between then and now. The economy was in dire straits then; and Marcos moved around in a pharmacological fog, his instincts that of a dead man.

But the similarity is all-important: Then, as now, it is the opposition’s state of preparedness that will determine the outcome.

Or, as the Inquirer editorial put it the other day, will it be more along the lines of whether or not the President continues to be Lucky? As the editorial rather ruefully points out,

From the start of Ms Arroyo’s presidency in 2001, the parade of charges has been endless:

The Impsa deal where high-ranking officials, including then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez, allegedly got $14 million in kickbacks; the P260-million Jose Pidal bank accounts; the P728-million fertilizer scam; the P2.5-billion poll computerization contract which was voided by the Supreme Court but for which no Comelec official has been prosecuted or penalized; the NorthRail and SouthRail projects entailing millions of dollars in kickbacks; and now, the $329-million NBN-ZTE deal where $130 million was reportedly earmarked in kickbacks for a group of officials and private persons. In any other country, a combination of corrupt deals like these would be enough to bring down a government. Here, we have protests and demonstrations, but so far that is all. Ms Arroyo must be one lucky President!

Meanwhile, the division of the national house continues, even in places like Facebook: see I WILL WAIT TILL 2010! and TIGIL NA: filipinos won’t be taken for a ride…

For my part, A Simple Life’s response to my using the term “loyalist” has made me consider whether I was being intemperate or injudicious in using that term to apply to people who remain unconvinced about the issues raised against the President. I was being unfair and I apologize.

As with all things, those who profess not to be outright loyalists should be given the benefit of the doubt. Which is not to say, as I often have, that there are those professing neutrality who have the net effect of partisanship, but every person has the right to insist on the freedom to label themselves without outside assistance.

As for today’s readings, Neri’s column on Lozada brings us to our first reading, a message from Jun Lozada which he has requested to be reproduced in this blog (unedited):

Dear Sr. Mary John,

I wish to thank all the participants for their prayers and support.

I am a witness and a victim of this Gov’t attempts to stop the truth about corruption from reaching the people. They first tried to silence me forever last Feb. 5 and when they failed to kill me physically they are now trying to kill my name to stop the truth from being told.

The gov’t is again doing what they have done on previous scandals and anomalies, bury it! bury it with more lies!

Until now they have not allowed the members of the PNP and PSG who took me from the airport last Feb.5 to come out and testify to answer the following questions:

1. Who ordered them to abduct me from the airport last feb 5?

2. If I was truly a VIP, why were they not identifying themselves when I was asking them who they were?

3. Why did they bring me to SLEX towards Cavite, then to Laguna when I was telling them to bring me home to Pasig?

4. Why was Gen. Razon, lying to the public that I and my sister has written a request for security when we did not? why did he change his story three times?

5. why did Usec. Gaite gave me P500,000 pesos and the palace to have three diff. stories to explain.

6. Why did Usec Gaite gave me a lawyer without my consent who wanted me to sign a false affidavit?

These are the questions the gov’t do not want to be answered because it will lead straight to the people who doesn’t want the truth about the NBN ZTE deal be known by the people, these are the people who wants to keep the Filipinos in the Dark because it there that they reign, it is there that they can continue to steal from the people their money and rob from the people including their hopes for themselves and their children’s children.

I ask all of you, to please not allow this gov’t to bury this abduction case with more lies and to let them get away with it once more. Because you will also let the truth about the NBN ZTE deal get away again, similar to how the truths about Hello garci, Joc Joc Bolante, Macapagal Highway, Marilyn Esperat, Northrail and a lot more have gotten away from you.

Thank you for giving me your time and attention.

Jun Lozada

Second, and related to the above, an article by Raul Fabella which came out in Business World on March 10:

The Constitutional Comfort for Impunity

By Raul V. Fabella

School of Economics, University of the Philippines

A constitution is nothing if not a bulwark against abuse of power by the duly constituted authority. The grandmother of all written constitutions, the Magna Charta, was a list of 63 proscriptions on the previously absolute powers of the monarchy. King John was forced by a concert of English barons armed to the teeth to sign and issue the proclamation at Runnymede in 1215 in return for their cessation of belligerence. Among the provisions imposed upon the king were the right of freemen to be judged by their own peers, the power to tax being vested on the council of the kingdom and the council of the kingdom to include barons, clergymen and burghers. Accountability was ensured by the willingness of the barons to bear arms in its defense. This made England less a regal than a legal state, one where the power of the purse and the power of adjudication are alienated from executive power. John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu were anticipated by centuries.

The Magna Charta supplanted the long-standing but largely unwritten constitution embodied in tradition and founded on “the divine right of kings.” This political ecology, pyloned on accepted mores and theology, included the accident of birth as the source of royal legitimacy flowing from the Godhead who then serves as the ultimate guarantor of fidelity and accountability. King John however discovered to his glee that he could breach with increasing impunity the traditional boundaries of acceptable monarchical malfeasance. The heavens did not open up and the lightning did not strike after each foray into the uncharted territory of roguery. Instead, every breach unpunished served as a convenient stepping-stonetowards deeper excursions. The concert of barons finding neither solace nor reprieve from God’s wrath as it were, decided that accountability must be spelled out in the only language King John and his similarly disposed progeny would understand: armed popular resistance. Their final and only fallback was themselves! Confronted with this resolve, King John ended up, rather than deposed, defanged.

Although the constitutional project witnessed a colorful career of reversal and rebirth throughout subsequent English history, the Magna Charta’s twin fundamental principle of “consent of the governed” and of “ultimate accountability by armed resistance” always served as a compass that kept the march on course. Charles I, repeatedly testing the second of the twin principle, reawakened the spectre of Runnymede and lost his head to the executioner’s ax in 1648.

A constitution is only as valuable as the protection from abuse of authority that it accords the citizens. Such protection is the raisson d’etre of the various avenues of accountability that it provides. Plug such avenues and the constitution is dead. Worse, its carrion may serve as poison to the polity. The 1987 Constitution provided for accountability through the checks and balance inherent in the Lockean separation of powers among three co-equal and independent branches of government. The legitimacy of the Executive’s prerogative to enforce duly legislated laws derives from the consent of the governed expressed via the ballot. So does the legitimacy ofeach member of the Legislative upon which is vested the power to enact laws. The independence of the Legislative draws from the legitimacy of its members and from its vested power of the purse. It is the ballot that makes political power contestable and ultimately accountable.

Short of the ballot, the Executive can be made to account for its actions by the Legislative through is constitutional power to impeach; so can the Executive and the Legislative be thwarted by the Judiciary’s power to decide on the legality or constitutionality of executive actions or legislative enactments once challenged in its courts. The independence of the Judiciary derives from the integrity of the men and women appointed by the Executive to the bench. Any breach in the system will ultimately be punished by the ballot. Constitutional democracy’s allure is its simplicity and its affirmation of the citizen which explains the vehemence with which extra-constitutional remedies are condemned by well-meaning folks who style themselves defenders of the rule of law.

Well and good on paper. In reality, the law of unintended consequences can kick in rendering the allure messed up and a victim of the clever machinations of ambitious men and women. One obvious soft underbelly of this simplicity: the ballot can be stolen! (Wasn’t the “Garci tapes” controversy all about stolen ballots?).

Consider the following hypothetical scenario: Suppose the ballot was stolen and the perpetrator is the chief law enforcer of the land, the Executive. It is a priori unconstitutional and must be removed. By whom? The Legislative? The Executive’s hold on power can be maintained if the Legislative is neutered. The independence of the Legislative hinges on an effective number willing to buck the Executive thus foregoing the largesse of the envelope or paperbag and risking the electoral discomfort of the pork barrel’s non-release. The blandishments of cash and the power it buys can be too much to resist for most. Instead of the constitutional power of the purse which is its constitutional prerogative, the Legislative will in exchange for cash exercise the power of the begging bowl. As a body, it can insist on its independence only by boisterous supineness. Accountability by impeachment can be rendered dead in the water. But it would be perfectly constitutional.

The Executive can also erode the independence of the Judiciary through friendly appointments or impair its effectiveness by “kidnapping,” “securing,” “neutering,” “demolishing” or “salvaging” evidence and those who know too much. Both together would accord even better guarantees. Evidence-based judgment, the hallmark of an upright Judiciary, cannot prosper without hard evidence. No evidence means innocence! All these meanwhile can be made to look legal and aboveboard by an adept, but most of all amply financed, management of the press.

With a co-opted Legislative, an impaired Judiciary, the constitutional windows are shut. If the top brass of the military can be kept comforted with favors and privileges, the equation is complete. The Executive can afford to immoderate its greed in order to build a war chest that can wither any emergency: top any bid for anybody’s flagging loyalty; procure his/her temporary or permanent silence; secure an opulent temporary or permanent exile for a beleaguered ally. Insiders build an ethical rampart around themselves by subscribing to the belief that all outsiders are virtuous only by default. No one has the biblical right to throw the first stone. In the den of thieves, theft is an oath of loyalty. But where greed is the currency of the land, discord is as natural as sunrise and breaking rank is a contingency to be handled. Any insider who breaks rank is assured of demolition.

With the system of assured demolition for rank breakers tightly in place, the ballot-stealing Executive can confidently hurl the challenge: “Impeachus” or “Sue us”. Indeed since the best defense is an ebullient offense, the bravado can indulge the rapier of sarcasm: “Allow us to start the constitutional challenges: To table an impeachment in Congress; to start an investigation by constitutional bodies.” Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” is, if more colorful, cut of the same cloth.

In effect, the constitution can be conveniently turned into a cover for a cabal of robbers. Its avenues of accountability can be magically transformed into boulevards of plunder. So impaired and emasculated, it can become a formidable comfort to impunity!

But of course this can be dismissed as no more than a hypothetical scenario. Malacanang’s problem is that more and more Filipinos, rightly or wrongly, no longer distinguish between hypothesy and reality. Who can blame them? They have perished the thought that the rule of law is better served by adherence to a constitution that is being used as a cover forimpunity. Guilty Erap was constitutionally unconditionally pardoned. As the Darwinians only know too well, when rogues enjoy superior fitness, their tribe will increase and inherit the earth. Whether for outright deposal or for defanging, these Filipinos now believe, rather as did the English barons at Runnymede, that only mounting direct action increasing if it must the risk of extra-constitutional tectonics is the only language Malacanang now understands and which alone can force it to come clean on truth and justice.

Waiting for the 2010 that will be forthwith stolen is “waiting for Godot.”


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  1. Que Sera Sera Philippines

    Hi MLQ,

    I read your previous entry on GMA apologists’ excuses re whether she treated at the election or not…I disagree with the reasoning that its ok since all the others cheated anyway! That’s a complete cop-out and justifies cheating!

    As for me, I tolerate her staying as President because I actually believe that she won the election but have been under Abalos’ blackmail list since she truly rang up Abalos to check on the results of the counting of the votes! But then again I have not heard the Hello Garci tapes! Maybe there was a promise of Abalos to cheat for her, but I think she would have won anyway!

    But as for corruption, if it can be proved, then I cannot tolerate that and I think it is a justified reason for impeachment!.

    BTW…Have your readers check this website: http://delfindjmontano.blogspot.com. It’s better than the NBN-ZTN expose! This is what happens when the powerful in society think they have a given right to steal and get away with it! Pathetic and a sad state of affairs indeed!

  2. nash


    re: the magna carta

    It’s such a big debate – britain’s lack of a ‘codified constitution’, here is an article by vernon bogdanor:

    “A Rip van Winkle who had fallen asleep in 1997 would, on waking up in 2004, hardly recognise the British Constitution. What we have been doing is unique in the democratic world. We have been converting an unwritten or uncodified constitution into a written or codified one.

    We are coming to develop, like most other democracies, fundamental laws. That is something quite new for Britain. The great 19th-century constitutional thinker AV Dicey declared: “There is no law which Parliament cannot change. There is no fundamental or so-called constitutional law”. Our only constitutional principle was the sovereignty of Parliament, the idea that Parliament could do what it liked. The British Constitution could be summed up in just eight words – what the Queen in Parliament enacts is law.

    Life became more complicated when we joined the European Community, as the Euro- pean Union was then called, in 1973. For European law is superior to the law of the member states and directly applicable to them. This caused problems for a country whose Parliament was sovereign and which found it difficult, therefore, to recognise any form of higher law.

    Life has become even more complicated since 1997. The devolution legislation and the Human Rights Act are also in the nature of fundamental laws.

    A further reform of momentous importance is the use of the referendum to validate constitutional change. Since 1997 referendums have been used to validate devolution, and also to allow us, the people, to decide whether we want elected mayors or not.

    A great 19th-century French commentator on British institutions, Alexis de Tocqueville, once famously said there was no British Constitution. We are now, I think, coming to develop one”

    It’s funny because from we look more like a monarchy with GMA as the evil queen (she probably took advice that the President can interpret the constitution, hence this deal with China on Spratlys…)

  3. The Equalizer

    Gloria and the Palace Gang will,for sure, rewrite the country’s fundamental law to extend her term beyond 2010.

    Here’ is their expected political end-game:

    1)Merge the Lakas and Kampi party to have a “super party” to act as bulldozer for a CHA-CHA move in the House of Thieves.

    2)The “ULAP” governors and mayors will pass resolutions to create a “snowball” campaign for “federalism” (more local authority versus Imperial Manila). (“What is important is that there is a natural groundswell of support by those people who want it. It’s not a direct activity of the President, and there is no directive from Malacañang. The Palace will just support the initiative of the local executives”ERMITA).

    3) Gloria will start talking again about Charter Change after receiving dozens of resolutions from congressmen,governors and mayors. (“It is not really for me anymore to initiate constitutional reform, but if there are others who will do it, I will support them”GLORIA).

    4) The House of Thieves will propose convening a Con-Ass composed of all the ConAsses to propose a unicameral system(abolish the Senate) and extending their own terms beyond 2010(NO-ELECTIONS in 2010). ( “So it should start now from the people and from the political leaders who believe in it as well, so I will support it. But we will leave it up to the people and the political leaders on how to go about it and what specific reforms should be made!”GLORIA).

    5) The Loyalist Senators (Miriam Defensor Santiago,Ed Angara,Johnny Enrile ,JokerArroyo) will support the “clamor” for the abolition of the Senate. (“Times have changed. It has already worn out its value”MIRIAM).

    6) The Conasses will rush the approval of the Gloria Constitution .

    7) They will propose a rush “people referendum ” to ratify it.

    8)They will use the “guns,goons,gold” strategy to force the people to approve the “Gloria constitution”.


    10)Gloria and her generals will instigate a “COUP ME” to quell the people’s unrest.

    Voila! Gloria stays in power beyond 2010.

  4. mlq3

    testing comment 9:18pm

  5. supremo

    ‘when Dante Madriaga showed reporters it was still in his Yahoo inbox, that the attachment had been tampered with’

    It’s possible and there are 2 ways of doing it.
    1) If someone other than San Miguel had access to San Miguel’s email account and sent a ‘tampered’ attachment to Madriaga.
    2) A program can send an email with attachment using San Miguel’s email address as the source. This is how most of us get those junk emails.

  6. JMCastro


    In the ways you outlined:

    1.) “… other than San Miguel had access to his account…”
    Mr. San Miguel possibly has his password compromised. So much for him being an IT expert if his email account can be penetrated so easily.

    2.) “… using San Miguel’s email as source …”
    Meta-data such as SMTP server/mail transfer agent, as well as time and date stamps are system generated. Are you suggesting that Mr. San Miguel’s email was forged last 2006?

  7. Bert

    The Equalizer,

    don’t give the loyalists in this blog too much false sense of hope. kawawa naman, baka mag-umpisa na silang magdasal na sana mag dilang-anghel ka.

  8. Bencard

    i sure did not perceive what commenter “phil” saw as a look of “worry” or fear in leo san miguel at any time during the senate hearing. what i saw was a visibly annoyed witness perturbed by the unfairness of the questioning and the entire proceedings. hostile and overzealous senators who browbeat him, threaten him with contempt, telling him on his face that he is lying “all day”, and addressing him in bellicose manner by disappointed senators who did not get what they want from him.
    despite all that and the interminable misleading questions that violate accepted rules of truth seeking, san miguel was steadfast, cool and coherent throughout. his whole demeanor may not prove he is telling the truth but it certainly doesn’t make his testimony unreliable compared to the others before him.

  9. anthony scalia


    nothing beats Abante Tonight’s lurid storytelling style? Abante Tonght is anything but a detached observer!

    i hope you are just referring to the storytelling itself, rather than on the supposed truthfulness of the narrative.

    why can’t just people accept the reality that San Miguel wasn’t the ‘bomb’ he was hyped up to be?

    bencard is so correct in observing that the senators were disappointed they didn’t get what they wanted from him.

    evidence are already enough, to borrow Phil’s words, “to file a case against the personalities involved.”

    what then is the purpose of getting more ‘star witnesses’? to sustain the momentum for people power?

    those hoping (in vain) for another people power aren’t realizing that they are not creating the momentum they are wishing for. kung baga sa showbiz, dapat the investigations must stop habang sikat and fresh pa ang Lozada expose. meron na rin bad effect ito sa Senate itself – too much undue attention had been given to the deal.

  10. grd

    If anybody was watching before the beginning of the Senate hearings with San Miguel, he got a call before the hearing started and if you pay attention there was a look of worry (fear?) in his eyes. I think there may not be a smoking gun but all the evidence put together should be enough to file a case against the personalities involved…

    really? what an observant fellow.


    Day 13…

  11. Pedestrian Observer GB

    Yo MLQ,

    Yes, maybe calling the “un-convinced” loyalist is uncalled for so perhaps “gullible” is a better term.

    The ADB report which you also cited in your previous entry should open the eyes of the ignorant errrr gullible oooops I meant “un-convinced” how the one with a doctored errr doctorate tried to pass off the increased GDP as economic gains when it was all due to increased government spending during last election makes her truly the lying queen of all times. Instead of being alarmed at the illegal campaign spending embarked on by the government no less she has the gall to fool the public that the nation is doing good and the gullible people took it hook, line and sinker.

    27.6M poor Filipinos, 1.9M Families or 12.2M individuals unable to afford to put food on their table and she has the gall to yap about economic gains is just dumb and stupid.

    I’ll go for Ado Paglinawan’s EDSA TRES YO! if only to prevent the social volcano from erupting as I shudder at the thought of seeing the wrath of disposessed hungry and angry population to settle the score once and for all………

  12. benign0

    Sana nga magka Edsa “revolution” ulit.

    And then sana maging presidente si Erap ulit.

    It seems utter failures need to be rubbed into Pinoys’ faces before we realise what utter failures certain activities and concepts are. It’s just like the way it is taking 60 years — and counting — for us to realise how ridiculous jeepneys are.

    Look at them now:

    – Cory is now just another pathetic over-used relic of yet another product of “Pinoy ingenuity”.

    – Lozada is now reduced to touring the islands like some kind of freak show.

    – The Catholic church has distanced itself from Edsa lynch mobs.

    In all ironies the hollow-headed antics of Pinoys have actually made WINNERS of the very people being demonised in forums and blogs like these.

    – Erap is the top winner of them all – he’s not only got full pardon from a heinous crime that otherwise attracts the Death Penalty he’s also got a legal basis for suing for wrongful removal from office.

    – Gloria is proving to be a tenacious president and is lucky enough to be presiding over statistically prosperous times.

    Pinoy nga naman talaga.

    Parang aso.

    Matangkad lang kapag naka-upo.

    – 😀

  13. Pedestrian Observer GB


    Aside from your self-flagellation of insulting our race as a Filipino in order for you to feel “superior” above the rest what do you propose we should do to address the raging scandal and the marginalization of a huge portion of the population?

  14. JMCastro


    I am sending this comment, which I also posted in a previous topic, to clarify my discussion with you.


    UP n student:

    My difficulty with your scenario is that it is not equivalent to the circumstances being debated by Mr. Madriaga and Mr. San Miguel.

    Let me put it this way, UP — you have an email dated a month ago in your Yahoo account. Can you go inside your own account and modify the contents of that email? Can you place “Elect Barack Obama” in any portion of your email? In your attachment?

    I do not think you can, unless the Yahoo email system is accessed at the OS platform level, not through your Web browser. That’s why I categorically said that only legitimate access by those who take care of the system (systems administrators), or those who have “cracked” the system (cyber-warfare specialists) can do that.

  15. benign0


    Aside from your self-flagellation of insulting our race as a Filipino in order for you to feel “superior” above the rest what do you propose we should do to address the raging scandal and the marginalization of a huge portion of the population? — Pedestrian Observer

    I think the very insightful words of a certain “Ken” made back in Sep 2007 in this very blog (refer to the exact location below):


    And I quite proudly (if I may) quote an excerpt:

    One of the worst traits of Filipino thinking today is to wait for someone or something to bring forth the solutions, then you will follow and praise it when it seems it is effective.

    It is quite obvious that when you look behind the multitude of credentials that the Philippine “intelligentsia” bristles with (although Teri Hatcher’s character in Desperate Housewives puts a bit of perspective along these lines), you will find that truly insightful thinking is sadly quite sparse for a society of more than 90 million.

    – 😀

  16. Pedestrian Observer GB


    What is there to think about?

    You have a president who lies and sugar coats her criminal activities with “economic gains” and you want to think out of the box? Do you need to think about demanding for accountability?

    Collective action you say, how do you go about doing this when you insult the very people who are supposed to be part and parcel of that collective?

    Powerless and disposessed people do not hold the key to your solutioneering “out of the box” thinking and what I see is a social volcano about to erupt as this administration and others that will come from the trapos keep on bringing us back to a vicious cycle.

    Sorry, but in order for people to come up with the collective action we need to deflate the ego first and perhaps see reality for what it is and not just the manifestation as you seem to hold as the truth of all truths.

  17. DJB

    If personal memory serves me right, Yacky Agana was a classmate of Buboy Macapagal throughout grade school and high school at, dig this, La Salle Green Hills! He graduated in 1968, Primus Class of that most famous educational institution in Mandaluyong, the hometown of Ben Abalos! Most the business associates of the First Brother are La Salle Green Hills alumni, mostly clustered around the firm ATR Kim Eng…

  18. DJB

    I am very happy at the turn of events in the Philippine Senate. The Senate will rise again to at least the same level of incompetence and potency as the Judiciary and Executive and restore some semblance of tripartite balance, a difficult act for any polity.

    But there is one grave danger from the Supreme Court. IN the coming Neri v. Senate decision, they could torpedo the Senate’s resurrection, not to save Gloria but to save themselves.

    I am sorry to say that my opinion is hardening about habeas data. It is based on the entirely dangerous notion that DATA CAN BE DESTROYED. It cannot! Not once it reaches the Global Public Domain called the Internet.

    Call it the Bocobo Hypothesis: Once a quantum of information is digitized and therefore created in the global public domain of the Internet, it cannot be destroyed without destroying the entire network.

    This point of view is entirely mathematical, not legal, but it imposes logical and physical limits on things like the Writ of habeas data. And makes them disdainfully inutile, deluded.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, habeas data imposed on societies will run afoul of Freedom of Speech. Because in point of fact, we do not OWN the data about US. It belongs to no one and it belongs to everyone. It is ineradicable by, and impervious to the Writ of habeas data!

    Recently, I published an anonymous blog with some intentionally mistaken information about the Justices of the Supreme Court…I interchanged their names in a random fashion. It was uploaded to a major blogging service a month ago and I notice from my log that at four Search Engines have indexed and spidered the site.

    I challenge the Almighty Supreme Court to destroy this plainly erroneous data about themselves! (Even I could not comply with THAT order, despite being the creator of this false data about them and clearly violates their Right to Truth about who they are. I publicly confess to this act of Free Expression.

  19. benign0

    Powerless and disposessed people do not hold the key to your solutioneering “out of the box” thinking and what I see is a social volcano about to erupt as this administration and others that will come from the trapos keep on bringing us back to a vicious cycle. — Pedestrian

    What social volcano?

    We had many opportunities for this proverbial “eruption” in the past. Crimes far more heinous have been committed against Filipinos than these laughable Hello Garci’s and NBN/ZTE’s that today’s “activists” are trying to make out as soul-wrenching catastrophes.

    Unlike the fire in people’s souls that drives the stomach for bloodshed and DICISIVE action we’ve seen in others who’ve mounted bloody revolutions and crusades — the French, the British, Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Rwandans, etc., we Pinoys don’t seem to have it in us to exhibit SERIOUS outrage.

    That is why I’ve always referred to our mediocre street antics as “Fiesta Revolutions” and our mediocre politics as “Fiesta Politics”.

    Ask any geologist and he’ll tell you that there are many ways that a volcano can erupt.

    What we see in our society is more of a sustained lava flow than that classic eruption that classic romantics such as yourself envision for our people. Slow lava flow — mass migration, passive aggressive behaviour (e.g. boycotts, civil disobedience,etc.) , and general apathy — better fit the Pinoy psyche than acute outrage, in my opinion.

    If you ask me, I think we’ve completely missed the bus on any real prospect to see that “real” revolution people here continuously harp about. And when i say “real” I’m not talking about these mediocre Edsa “revolution” circuses but rather the Real McCoys that actually DESTROY the status quo, eliminate the oligarchy, and re-establish a fundamentally new order.

    It’s simple, really. 😉

  20. mang_kiko

    Ang panakaipiktibo proteksyon sa personal Data na ngayon wala nang Privacy, alam na na kong sin-o tanpulano sa Nigeria ang lahat na Data ni mang_kiko at lahat na bloggers dito, kundi ang ko-operasyon nang Korte na kung sin-o ang magviolate nang Privacy nang isang Tao at mahuli o ma-akusa civil ay ito ay parusahan according to the ‘rule of law’ ika nga nang manga abogados kasama na yong manga miembro nang SC..

  21. Floyd Buenavente

    Sir Manolo may I copy the letter of Jun Lozada? Thank you very much for this very Informative post ^_^

  22. supremo


    ‘1.) “… other than San Miguel had access to his account…”
    Mr. San Miguel possibly has his password compromised. So much for him being an IT expert if his email account can be penetrated so easily.’

    He may have an assistant or secretary who sends emails for him.

    ‘2.) “… using San Miguel’s email as source …”
    Meta-data such as SMTP server/mail transfer agent, as well as time and date stamps are system generated. Are you suggesting that Mr. San Miguel’s email was forged last 2006?’

    Not forged. I can, for example, use mlq3’s email address to send emails with attachment to you guys without mlq3 knowing it by using a .NET based program. I don’t need to know mlq3’s email account password.

    I agree with what you told UPn. You cannot change an email once you received it and still appear to come from the original sender. San Miguel cannot admit to sending the email but disown the attachment in it. That’s BS.

  23. mlq3

    anthony, of course they’re upset. particularly lacson who claims the man said he would say certain things but then committed perjury. the purpose of the witnesses is to get to the bottom of a story that is only half complete at best. the point is not that he wasn’t the bomb he was supposed to be, but rather, his becoming the anti-bomb raises even more questions.

  24. mlq3

    floyd, of course, that’s what he wants.

  25. Abe N. Margallo

    Rising star Eliot Spitzer who could have been Hilary Clinton’s running mate, announced his resignation today as governor of New York on allegation of spending thousand of dollars on call girls. Prostitution is basically a victimless crime but Spitzer, way before a “probable cause” has been determined or “legal truth” established, resigned for failing to live up to the standards expected of public officials, he said.

    Politically, Spitzer is deemed finished.

    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has faced a staggering list of corruption charges including the following as compiled by PDI and underscored anew by Manolo:

    “The Impsa deal where high-ranking officials, including then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez, allegedly got $14 million in kickbacks; the P260-million Jose Pidal bank accounts; the P728-million fertilizer scam; the P2.5-billion poll computerization contract which was voided by the Supreme Court but for which no Comelec official has been prosecuted or penalized; the NorthRail and SouthRail projects entailing millions of dollars in kickbacks; and now, the $329-million NBN-ZTE deal where $130 million was reportedly earmarked in kickbacks for a group of officials and private persons.”

    Arroyo’s political body language is seen by many as choreographed to prolong her rule beyond constitutional term limit.

    Is it us, Filipinos, or Gloria?

  26. rego

    I can easilly relate to Benigno’s simple lang…

    I ve follwing up the stunning fall of Gov Spitzer until he resigned this morning.

    Its simple really. Gather all solid evidences. Six 6 months surveilance by FBI from the time the bank alerted them of abnormal money movement). And Spitzer learned of it only last Friday. Then resigns after 5 days.

    I was very impressed with how the system works. A 48 ultimatum of impeachment was issued By Joe Bruno. In that 48 hrs Spitzer was in seclusion in his 5th Ave unit perhaps to study all his options. And just before the deadline, came the resignation. There a smooth tranistion of power. And the NY senate was even back to work immediately after announcement of resignation.

    Personally I feel very sad about the tragedy because Im a big fan of Spitzer when he was the Attorney General up to the tiem he won teh election. I wasn’t feeling good the whole day. But when I came home this evening everything is fine. I can just look foward for another day.

    Now compare that to NBN ZTE scandal, now comapre tho teh NBN ZTE scandal. After all those drama debates etc etc. wla pa ring nangyayari. Sa totoo lang I dont bother to read anything about the new witness and even the new entry in this blog. Everything became or was made so ridiculously complicated.

  27. Jeg

    Like I mentioned in a previous comment in another post, I welcome and encourage efforts such as Carlos Celdran’s “I’ll wait til 2010” internet group and others like it, even if I dont agree with it. This is democracy, direct democracy, and not the one-man-one-vote of fascism. Democracy is the rule of the body politic, and not of some majority. Only by coming out in the public sphere can the body politic arrive at the consensus, and in the public sphere, even the minority can ‘win’ by being right.

  28. magdiwang

    mlq3, you have to admit that people have grown tired on whistleblowers. How many times did senator Lacson presented these so called surprise witnesses and all of them are all duds. The media contributes to the general cynicism on the whole process. They kept us in suspense with baited breath only to be dissapointed with their testimonies. I believe the investigations they conduct has lost much credibilty. No wonder nobody wants to join opposition rallies.

  29. The Equalizer

    The Filipino People are crying “BRING FORTH THE TRUTH”! (ILABAS ANG KATOTOHANAN!)

    We want to know the truth behind all the cover-ups in the seven long years of Gloria Pidal’s rule!

    How could so many scandals of an elected (?) president and her cadre remain unexplained, unchallenged, and unpunished? When?

    Probably never.

    We’re not talking mistakes, here. We’re not talking poor judgment or failed policies. We’re not talking politics as usual, with its underhanded array of pork and perks.

    But we are talking about very serious violations of the public trust, and very possibly the law, perpetrated by the elected (?) leader of this nation and her handlers.

    Even more amazingly, we are talking about the shameful reality that not a single one of these offenses has been investigated by a truly independent, non-political, neutral commission, armed with subpoena powers and adequate funding, and answerable ONLY to the people of Philippines.

    Not a single one.

  30. benign0

    Sa totoo lang I dont bother to read anything about the new witness and even the new entry in this blog. Everything became or was made so ridiculously complicated. — rego

    I think people we really need to be wary of are those who’ve made a career out of formulating, analysing, and working the intricacies of the system. These are people who have the power to introduce unnecessary complexity to otherwise conceptually simple circumstances, for the simple reason that they can.

    It’s a conflict of interest. The same people who’s minds are entrenched and even imprisoned by out-of-context detail are the same people we seem to be entrusting to come up with resolutions and solutions.

    To cite a recent example, Bocobo — one of our resident experts in the intricacies of The System — demonstrated this prison our society is trapped in when he expressed how bizarre he found the idea that one can actually find simplicity in what he THINKS is a universe of complexity.

    I’ve also observed a couple of others who’ve demonstrated a tenacious but utterly misguided propensity to argue economic and statistical trivialities ad-nauseum without any trace of inclination — or brain capacity — to step back from the problem and regard it along with the full breadth of the context behind it.

    As such, we consistently fail to identify a set of simple principles to underlie what we want to become as a society.

    Worse, we continue to entrust the fortunes of our society on people who lack the capability to find these underlying SIMPLE principles and instead would rather wallow in the convoluted detail.

    The analogy extends to various fields in science:

    The greatest minds in the history of human civilisation are recognised for the leaps in insight that led to increasing reduction in the volumes of information required to articulate APPARENT complexity.

    Whereas ancient astronomers required volumes of text to track and plot movements of planets at every point in time, today — as a result of the work of great minds like Newton and Einstein — those same movements can now be predicted with far more precision using principles that can be articulated mathetmatically in less ten pages.

    It’s simple, really. 😀

  31. benign0

    I might add that as the mysteries of the planetary movements were progressively reduced to simple mathematical principles, the pre-eminence and social standing of ASTROLOGERS and QUACKS in a society drammatically declined.

    Bato bato sa langit… 😀

  32. UP n student


  33. tonio

    i think people are now realizing how important their votes are. because right now, they are seeing the fruits of these ill-considered choices. (one has to look no further than the intellectually-challenged Madrigal to realizes the pitfalls of ‘name voting’.)

    i just hope that there will be a working electoral system in 2010 that will allow the people to extricate themselves from this really deep hole…

  34. Abe N. Margallo


    Can you imagine the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice prosecuting Arroyo if you cannot imagine them prosecuting Neri?

    Simple lang rego. Sometimes, gusto ko na talagang maniwala kay BenignO.

    I’m just thinking too that maybe in the deeper recesses of your thoughts, weren’t you wishing na nag-Gloria na sana si Eliot.

  35. UP n student

    There has never been an Office of the Independent Counsel, I suppose. Not during Garcia’s term, nor Macapagal-from-Lubao, nor Marcos, nor Cory, nor FVR.

  36. tonio

    Ah sir, but here we go again… now the Independent Counsel, whoever this person will be, will become The Hero, the Great Graft-fighter, etc., etc.

    While I am all for the creation of this office, what I am against is that with this office in place, people will take it as a license to relax their vigilance.

    This has happened all too often.

  37. BaklaForever

    The government is obviously trying to cover themselves up.

    As you can see, the reason why no one of significance is ever prosecuted or jailed is because everyone is trying to oprotect each other and cover each other’s backs.

    Another thing is the shifting of alliances and things like that. Kahapon kaaway mo, ngayon kakampi mo. It’s like “let’s bury the hatchet and profit together”.


  38. BaklaForever

    Naku mga bakla! Yang “Independent Counsel” na yan…CHUKCHAKCHENES lamang yan!

    Puro ECHOS naman yang gobyerno nating yan eh!

    Super EKLAVU na may magawa yan.

    Nakakasira ng beauty itechiwa!

  39. BaklaForever

    O akala ninyo kaming mga bading ay di involved sa social commentary noh? Welllll! Here we are marching not only with Pride…but with Gay Pride!!!!


  40. anthony scalia


    “the point is not that he wasn’t the bomb he was supposed to be, but rather, his becoming the anti-bomb raises even more questions”

    that presumes that he has the potential to be ‘da bomb’.

    i think so much is presumed with San Miguel.

    ‘da bomb ‘ bombed at the Senate

  41. anthony scalia

    UP n,

    if SB 140 becomes a law, it might be very vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. the Ombudsman is practically the IC.

  42. nash

    @ pedestrian observer

    langhiya, tinatanong si benign-zero kung ano ang ‘solution’ sa mga lait niya sa pinoy ang sagot naman ay puro panlalait pa rin…wala talagang kwenta ng get real eklat na iyan. parang listahan lang, walang prescription.

  43. tonio


    maybe we as Filipinos should get over turning to other people for solutions. we all can see what’s wrong. we all have ideas on how to make it better. places like manolo’s blog on a small-scale, are areas of “idea testing”, where such solutions are evaluated.

    the important part really, is for every Filipino to come to a solution him or herself. and then be part of that solution.

  44. rego

    “I’m just thinking too that maybe in the deeper recesses of your thoughts, weren’t you wishing na nag-Gloria na sana si Eliot.” – Abe


    I was thinking about this when this Spitzer scandal came out. My instant reaction was Eliot should resign same way with the majority of the people. I have this discussion with my cousin in law ( another big fan of Eliot) who feels that Eliot should not resign. The evidences was just soooooo strong that my stand prevails in the house.

    I must admit that just after the Garci Scandal broke out, it did occur to me that Gloria should resign. But later on I feel that the evidences is not really that strong and I believe she really won that election. So I believe its a good that she did not resign.

    You see Abe, my back ground was really more on Failure Analysis, Root cause Determination, Corrective Action Definition and Implementation. It realy more Quality Systems. So all I see in almost in everything now and even on the way I live from day to day is the SYSTEM.

    So I dont think Gloria resignation over a weak evidence would be a very good foundation for a strengthening the system. It coudl set a very very bad precedent. Same way that People Power did.

    Ang mahirap kasi, peopel like Cory believ that they are helping. Peor sa tingin they are ven compicating thing and add to confusion. Sa konting iskandalo, susugod na kaagad si Cory at ang kanyang rosaryo at mag tatawag ng people power. What kind of system can we strengthening with that? Peopel Power? which is really really higly debatable for me.

    All allegations against the president should really be well subtantiated first before the we take action. And that was what I am pointing out in this Eliot Scandal. That way wala lagang lusot. Ang nagyayari sa Pilipinas ngayon ay puro hilaw. Hilaw na allegation , hilaw na ebidensysa , hilaw witnessess, hilaw na reactions hilaw na investigations. Puro hilaw sa walang kapupuntahan. So wla talaga akong.

    Isa pa napa focus masyado sa Presidente at pilit an pilit ang pagdididin kay Gloria. Sana go after those who are directly involve na bago kaladkarin ang presidente….

    Oooops I Go to go .. mamaya na lang uli.

  45. Abe N. Margallo


    Let me focus on Manolo’s original sin.

    During the 2004 presidential election in the US there were charges of electoral fraud or cheating to the effect that about 350,000 mainly Democratic voters in Ohio either were not allowed to vote or their votes were not counted and that thousands more of Kerry votes were shifted to Bush, altogether enough for Kerry to have won Ohio and the presidential election.

    If the evidence to prove the allegations of fraud and cheating were a video clip of hundreds of registered Democratic voters waiting outside the voting precincts for 10-12 hours (and many who were frustrated eventually left home without voting), I’d hold my horse to claim those were “solid” evidence of the charges.

    However, if you have a wiretap evidence of Bush (or someone uniquely sounding very much like Bush) telling an Ohio election official to prevent 500,000 Democrats from voting and then 10 of Bush’s cabinet members (with whom he had confided as to how to handle the crisis or what to do with the evidence) have resigned out of disgust, would you consider the wiretap evidence “solid” enough to establish “probable cause” not necessarily of fraud or cheating but of “betrayal of public trust” to be worth the consideration of an impeachment court?

    In such a situation, would not your “instant reaction” or your cousin-in-law’s, “same way with the majority of the people,” have been for Bush to resign before being impeached as fast as Spitzer having resigned before being indicted?

  46. andres

    The bottomline here is that GMA abused her being at the palace. The truth is slowly coming out that because of her and her family’s overconfidence, they thought they could get away with everything. It came to this point wherein the dealing could not be hidden anymore.

    According to Jun Lozada, sobra na, bumukol na!

    We cannot deny the fact that GMA is probably one of the most evil (next to FVR) if not the most, who has occupied Malacanang Palace.

  47. mang_kiko

    Sa ibang Jurisdiction, “to influence or bribe a public or private official in any manner is a Crime” at ganon din sa Bayan natin, pero ang kaibahan sa Bayan nating Pilipinas Pakapalan lang nang Mukha.. Sana kong nagbigay ihemplo si Ms Arroyo sa Iskandalo ‘Garci’ at nagresign dahil ang mag-usap sa official nang indepedente na Electoral Body maimpluwensya ang resulta ng boto ay seryoso na pagkamali, dapat maging Precedent na di na uuulitin na kahit sin-o politico na susunod kay GMA. dahil na hindi nya ginawa, di lalong pakapalan pa rin nang Mukha..

  48. andres

    With the recent actions by Agana and Poblador, it has become a habit by the Arroyo administration to do these maneuverings in the back door.

    Every time there is an issue, they try to cover-up by abducting the witness or the family with grave threats, or by simply paying them off to be silent or to turn-around.

    Lying has become an ordinary habit in this regime.

  49. rego

    “However, if you have a wiretap evidence of Bush (or someone uniquely sounding very much like Bush) telling an Ohio election official to prevent 500,000 Democrats from voting and then 10 of Bush’s cabinet members (with whom he had confided as to how to handle the crisis or what to do with the evidence) have resigned out of disgust, would you consider the wiretap evidence “solid” enough to establish “probable cause” not necessarily of fraud or cheating but of “betrayal of public trust” to be worth the consideration of an impeachment court? ”


    Impeachment, yes, Resign no. The wiretapped tape shoudl be definitely be validated in the impeachment court.

    Even in the case of Eliot. Impeachment is very much an option despite the undisputable evidences. One reason cited on the TV coverage why Eliot did not take his change in the impeachment is that he is not confident enough on how much support he will get from the Senate. While those who advised him not resign ( including his wife) believed that the punblic will eventually forgive him. Obviously the are more people close to him that advise him to resign.

  50. rego

    So when will I say Gloria resign? When the evidence against her is indefensible, and undipsutable. And its is very clear to the people how did the crime is committed. Which is exactlty the case which is exactly the case with Eliot. That way wala ng pagtatalunan pa.

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