It’s how you play the game

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My column for today is It’s how you play the game. You can refer to the following related stories: SC justice admits playing golf with Neri, but won’t inhibit self, and SC justice won’t inhibit from NBN case, and Drilon urges Corona to inhibit from Neri case, and 5 named to list for Supreme Court justice. as well as New SC justice could be swing vote for Arroyo in Neri case.

In response to Solita Monsod’s selective use of the transcripts, Atty. Edwin Lacierda wrote a response, published today as Lozada counsel takes exception to Monsod’s column.

Incidentally, the debate over what Lozada said, brings up the difficulty of accessing information, including records -and that means, transcripts, too- paid for with taxpayer money and which ought to be freely-accessible. Please read the Team RP Petition for a Freedom of Access to Information Law and sign up if you agree with their advocacy. For example, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, it is easier to figure out who was what in previous administrations, as well as surveying presidential activities and official documents, than it is under the present or recent dispensations.

Another case in point is that the transcripts of Senate hearings are only available on paper, for a fee, and I’ve heard it suggested that this is done so as to provide an income stream to government clerks. The result is that besides having to pay for hard copy, any group or individual that wants to refer to the testimony has to encode the transcripts, which can only compound whatever errors already exist, and which serves as a deterrent to the widespread discussion and study of the conduct and contents of those hearings.

I have appended the exchange at the end of this entry.

In other news, RP draws from regional emergency rice reserve.

Overseas, two interesting stories in the Asia Sentinel website. First, Malaysia’s Political Earthquake: The ruling national coalition takes its biggest beating since independence , with this interesting description of recent political dynamics:

Although Abdullah Badawi took office in 2002 as a reformer succeeding Mahathir, he has yet to deliver on the promise of change to the extent that voters wanted. Although the stock market is up 60 percent since he took office and to some extent cronyism has been discouraged and some of Mahathir’s more grandiose projects have been put on hold, there has been widespread disgust over surging crime rates, increasingly tense race relations, spiralling inflation and a perception of corruption, particularly at the top of UMNO, due to a long series of highly public scandals.

The coalition sought to counter public anger by offering a wide range of official projects to win voters, from scholarships for rural and poor families to increased infrastructure spending to an offer to train thousand of new policemen. Nonetheless, the coalition’s ability to mobilize voters by using the levers of power didn’t work. The MCA in particular was riven with factionalism, with the party reeling over a sex scandal that drove Chua Soi Lek, one of Malaysia’s most powerful Chinese politicians, from office in January. Publication of a videotape of the episode was widely believed to have been made by rivals within the party. UMNO also suffered from infighting as Abdullah Badawi dropped several old party members from the election rolls only to have them fight back against newer, cleaner figures.

(Check out Malaysian blogger-turned-MP Jeff Ooi’s blog, Screenshots, for an interesting snapshot in how he and fellow oppositionists are preparing for the political transition in the state they won).

And second, Singapore Reels over a Missing Fugitive: The Island Republic’s fugitive terrorist runs circles around authorities, which has been an ongoing story of a city-state unused to failure and worse, criticism:

But the most common sentiment appears to be not that lives are in danger because a dangerous terrorist has escaped and may yet manage to blow up Singaporean buildings. It is growing derision at the sheer apparent incompetence of authorities usually so keen to praise their own efficiency, particularly in matters of security…

Whatever else can be said about Singapore, its government has long regarded itself as the most grimly efficient and accomplished in Asia, and it does not brook any nonsense. Kastari’s escape and the subsequent inability of authorities to find him have called that into question.

Singapore’s most prized asset is competence and the willingness to pay for it with taxpayer funds. Ministers and civil servants, already by far the highest-paid public servants in the world, received a round of pay raises starting on January 1 ranging from 4 percent to 21 percent, driving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s salary to S$3.7 million (US$2.55 million), more than six times that of US President George W. Bush. Cabinet ministers, including Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng, apologizing while under intense fire for Kastari’s escape, receive S$1.9 million (US$1.37 million).

Its civil servants are among the highest paid in the world. The government has long taken the stance that public officials should receive pay commensurate with the top of the country’s business elite, both to attract top talent and to forestall any temptation toward corruption.

Thus the ability of a crippled ethnic Malay to walk away from the most securely guarded prison on an island of only 700 square kilometers, and to remain on the loose since February 27, has not only generated a huge amount of controversy, but a growing amount of ridicule of the government, which is being recycled endlessly in cyberspace, often in the form of jokes. This is not something a government as humorless as Singapore’s is finding funny.

Incidentally, the article ends by saying the escape is a Black Swan Event, a concept developed in a book I’m currently reading (and enjoying!), “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Also, in relation to the story on Malaysia, see this news item: RP warned FDIs shunning it. The article says,

Michael Clancy, chairman of the Philippine Business Leaders’ Forum, said the Philippines is no longer attracting foreign direct investments due to a wide range of corruption and Manila’s overdependence on “bad” loans from China….

In an internal survey of the members of the PBLF composed of 40 companies from Europe, United States and Australia, there was a shared belief that at least 50 percent of the project costs in doing business goes to “commissions” and only 10 per cent of the total investment is being used for facilitation, and the remainder for implementation.

Among the 40 companies surveyed, nobody aired plans to pour in additional investments.

“Those who invested here already, they’re committed to staying and not pulling out. But in terms of asset management mode, they’re not looking to expand because it’s too hard… everywhere you turn [in the government system] somebody got his hand [on] money, everybody wants something under the table,” Clancy lamented.

He said foreign companies that have invested in China are seeking back-up investments in the region “but they are not looking at the Philippines as they would prefer Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.”…

…Meanwhile, he stressed that Manila’s overdependence on China also sends wrong signal to Western investors.

“We were involved in European investment delegation here two years ago to look at investment prospects, but government officials [whom we’ve met] told us, ‘we don’t need your money anymore, we have China now, we can get all money we need from China,'” said Clancy.

Yesterday’s Inquirer editorial, Most corrupt, points out the limitations, but still serious implications, of yet another survey of foreign businessmen in the region. But it points to impressions that affect business, as also indicated by the article quoted above.

But even as Arroyo ‘thrilled’ for passing US firm’s anti-corruption test, there are those who disagree. In Ex-Cabinet members: GMA ‘at the center’ of corruption in NBN-ZTE deal and Former gov’t finance officials: Economy ‘not gaining momentum’ , you can read about the views of former government officials who contest the present government’s policies:

1. There is growing concern among experts about glaring and unprecedented inconsistencies in official statistics on growth, income and poverty that raise doubts about the reliability of the economic growth data.

2. Even recent official poverty statistics affirm that whatever economic growth was achieved in the past five years has benefited only a few.

3. This “growth” had even swelled the ranks of the poor by almost four million additional Filipinos. Poverty has risen not only in absolute numbers, but in relative terms as well, with the proportion of poor families rising from 24 percent to 27 percent between 2003 and 2006.

“Our economy cannot gain momentum when its actual growth is much lower than its reported numbers, when whatever growth occurred benefited only a few, when more Filipinos slide into poverty despite this growth,” they said.

Here’s their statement: fighting_corruption.pdf which you can compare to the ADB report, critical-dev-constraints.pdf” title=”critical-dev-constraints.pdf”>critical-dev-constraints.pdf

See: The world’s 50 most powerful blogs.

Here is the unexpurgated transcript of the controversial exchange between Senator Joker Arroyo and Jun Lozada:Lozada-Senate Transcript.pdf (I have italicized the portions Solita Monsod chose to quote, in the overall extract below; you can also compare her account of the TV interview with this one in Alaverde 33, of course Monsod does not mention Abaya’s story changing)

***
May I now recognize Senator arroyo.
SEN. ARROYO, Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My preliminary statement should not be deducted from my time because here is the crux of my thesis. Mr. Lozada, your family filed a petition for Habeas Corpus in the Supreme Court and a petition for a Writ of Amparo before the Supreme Court. That case would be heard by direction of the Supreme Court which I inquired this morning will be heard by the Court of Appeals on February 14, Thursday.
Now, I would address this now to the Committee. The same questions which we discussed for 7 hours will be the same issue that will be discussed in the Supreme Court — in the Court of Appeals. So, I ask the question addressed to the Committee, not to the resource persons. Since this is a Writ of Habeas Corpus and a Writ of Amparo, the decision will come in very fast. It’s a lighting decision. Supposing the decision of the Court of Appeals which was directed by the Supreme Court is different from our findings, what do we do?
You have here a case of the same subject matter, the same parties; Cusi, Lina, Atutubo, Razon, all of them are also respondents in the court. Now, that’s what’s going to be heard by the Court of Appeals, so we spent time here discussing what will be heard in the Court of Appeals. So what do we do ?
So I ask now this question. Mr. Lozada, you filed the Petition for the Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1 o’clock on Wednesday when you were already free, you were no longer under restraint. And the Petition for the Writ of Amparo at 4 o’clock on Wednesday, February 6. Now, I ask you, why did you not sign the petitions when you could have signed it and instead asked your wife to sign the petition and Arthur Lozada who is your brother, to sign the petition. Now, why is it like that? Meaning, when you ask for a Writ of Habeas Corpus and Writ of Amparo, well, you are the petitioner, why you asked your wife, you asked your brother. Why did you have to do that? I don’t mean to ask you because you’re not a lawyer but if Atty. Bautista can answer for you as an honest lawyer for him, fine.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. CAYETANO, A.). Well, sir, if you want the lawyers to answer, I think the lawyers who filed the cases are behind you.
SEN. ARROYO. Yes. I think that the Ateneo Human Rights Center must be required by the Committee to answer that because he was already free. He could sign it but he still asked Mrs. Lozada. So, the other one is the one for Arthur Lozada, the brother of Mr. Lozada had a different set of lawyers so we can ask Mr. Lozada and for him to require to sign, because this is forum shopping which is condemned by the Supreme Court. You cannot go to — the same subject matter, the same issue, you go to two different forums? Supposing that the decisions of the two forums, the Senate and the Supreme Court would be different, what do we do? So I raised that question as an administrative matter, Mr. Chairman.
Second, I want to ask Mr. Lozada, your ticket when you went abroad, how were you ticketed? What’s the itinerary?
MR. LOZADA, Hanggang Hong Kong lamang po.
SEN. ARROYO. Your travel order was supposed to be to London to attend a conference yet you got a ticket yourself — somebody here said it was a credit card, I don’t know who. Now, if you were going to London because you were going to attend an environmental conference, and that was the travel authority that you solicited from the head of office, that is Secretary Atienza, does that not smack of bad faith that you never really intended to go to London as you represented, but only up to Hong Kong? I mean, these are the matters. I am putting this all for you, you can answer me later because I don’t want to lose sight of this.
Now the other one is this. I noticed in the previous testimony that when you departed, I don’t know what date, ABS-CBN asked permission to cover it. I mean, there is something here on testimony, I don’t know who. Now who knew about your departure, Mr. Lozada?
MR. LOZADA. Should I answer now?
SEN. ARROYO. Sure go ahead.
MR. LOZADA. Secretary Neri. A lot of people, sir, knew about my departure.
SEN. ARROYO. All right. So, in other words, never mind that ABS-CBN because — now the other one is that you mentioned about the North Rail. Are you aware of the fact that the Senate investigated the North Rail? This is a bigger issue than the ZTE. Or you’re not aware of that?
MR. LOZADA. Not, not…
SEN. ARROYO. But the Senate did not make a committee report. Investigated it but did not make a committee report. I want that on record.
MR. LOZADA. I did not know that.
SEN. ARROYO. Yes. My questions are brief because it’s really for the committee report.
I want to ask Secretary Mike. You mentioned Maritess Vitug whom I know, you know and many of us. Did you clear your statements with her?
MR. DEFENSOR. Yes, Your Honor.
SEN. ARROYO. You quoted her freely.
MR. DEFENSOR. Your Honor, noon pong unang lumabas ‘yong mga statements, hindi pa po ako nagsasalita. Then I called her up. Sabi ko, “Maritess, I’m asking clearance from you. Maaari bang pag nagsalita ako, particularly in the Senate, can you give me clearance?” Sabi n’ya, “Pertaining to What?” Sabi ko, “Pertaining to all the discussions we’ve had, kasi the timeline, I’m trying to fix it.” And sabi n’ya, “Sige, basta as long Mike, malinaw. I was asking you as a journalist and you were responding.” Sabi ko, “Yes, Maritess. In fact
SEN. ARROYO. In other words, she knew — and whatever you said — if she will be asked even in writing so that we don’t bother her, she will confirm it?
MR. DEFENSOR. Yes, Your Honor.
SEN. ARROYO. Now, Secretary Atienza, there was a naughty question of Senator Escudero about insinuations, which I really want to find out because …
Senator Lacson said that way back in December, he was already talking to you.
MR. LOZADA. Yes.
SEN. ARROYO. That’s what he said. I don’t know whether I was quoted wrong, but way back in December he was talking to you?
MR. ATIENZA. Sino po ba ang tinutukoy, Mr. Chairman, ako po ba o …?
SEN. ARROYO. Si Mr. Lozada. All right, Now if that is true that you were talking to Senator Lacson, now you have not talked to any one? Who were other senators that you were talking to way back in December?
MR..LOZADA. Wala pa pong iba nuong December.
SEN. ARROYO. Wala? Only Senator Lacson?
MR..LOZADA. Opo.
SEN. ARROYO. All right.
So Secretary Atienza, your insinuation that senators are involved here is not correct.
MR. ATIENZA. Ang sabi ko po kanina, isa sa mga nakagawa ng malaking intriga dito sa usaping ito’y parang maraming nakakaalam ng intensyon ni Mr. Lozada ay maraming nakakaalam ng movement n’ya at may nakakausap s’yang mga senator. Sapagkat akala ko all the time sa akin lang siya nakasandal kaya all out naman ang tulong ko sa kanya on matters of security.
SEN. ARROYO. I raised that question, Secretary Atienza, because the question of good faith, bad faith arises. That in the case of Mr. Lozada, I would have wished — in fact, I cannot be so hard on him because it turns out Bicolano pala ito. Taga-Ligao eh. All right, now, anyway.
So it’s much of bad faith because you’re talking to some but you are not talking to us. In fact, yesterday — or when was this when ABS-CBN came here and visited you and you were interviewed? What day was that, here in the Senate? Is that Saturday or Sunday?
MR. LOZADA. Sunday po ata ako pinuntahan.
SEN. ARROYO. No, no, no. Only the weekend.
MR. LOZADA. Saturday po si Carandang, tapos Sunday po ata si Korina.
SEN. ARROYO. All right, what I’m saying is this. Every time you discriminate on media is not fair. You favor one station, others aren’t.
Wait, wait, wait. You favor some Senators, you don’t favor others. I raised those points because this is a question of good faith. So having said that, now will you please answer my …
SEN. LACSON. Mr. Chairman, since my name was mentioned — Mr. Chairman?
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. CAYETANO, A). Yes, Senator Lacson.
SEN. LACSON. Ang masasabi ko lang po eh, baka mas masipag ako kaysa doon sa iba.
MR. LOZADA. May I answer na ho, isa-isa?
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. CAYETANO, A). Okay, Mr. Lozada.
SEN. ARROYO. And don’t be afraid, just say what you think is the answer.
MR. LOZADA. Opo.
Number one po, yung mga writ-writ na ‘yon, hindi po ako kasama pa roon dahil po noong panahon na ‘yon ang umaabugado pa sa akin si Atty. Bautista. Hindi ako kasali pa roon.
SEN. ARROYO. You mean, you have been the lawyer, Atty. Bautista, since December?
MR. LOZADA. Hindi po, ‘yong writ. Eto, ‘yong writ of habeas corpus, ‘yong wala po akong kasali po roon. Kasi nga po inasaynan nila ako ng — basta dinala lng nila ako Atty. Bautista eh. So ‘yon pong panahon na ‘yon, siya pa ‘yong lumalabas na abugado ko.
SEN. ARROYO. Well, I ask him.
MR. BAUTISTA. Your Honor, Mr. Chairman.
MR. LOZADA. Puwede pong tapusin ko na? Puwede ko pong matapos?
SEN. ARROYO. Okey, go ahead.
MR. LOZADA. Tapos po hindi nga ako kasali roon. Noong Wednesday na ‘yon, kinuha nga po ako nina Colonel Mascariñas, dinala n’ya ako kina Atty. Bautista. Hindi ko alam kung saan ako dadalhin. Tinatanong ako ng asawa ko, “Saan ka dadalhin?” Sabi ko, “Hindi ko Alam.” So sila naman po para malalaman nila kung saan ako dinadala, siguro they decided with my brother, kasi ho I’m not free to ‘yong, sir, kanina, I was free to move — hindi ako free to move. Kinukuha nila ako sa La Salle…
SEN. ARROYO. What I’m trying to say is that, don’t tell me that Bro. Felipe would not allow you to sign a document when you had visitors, the family was with you. In fact, you had many visitors, the nuns and the sisters saw you.
MR. LOZADA. Pero po…
SEN. ARROYO. No, no, the question is, I’m talking about — because you are talking about human rights, and I have been involved in human rights.
MR. LOZADA. Yes, Mr. Senator.
SEN. ARROYO. So those who were saying that you haven’t sacrificed human rights…
MR. LOZADA. Opo, So I will continue na po?
SEN. ARROYO. Now the point is this. You don’t trifle with the writ of habeas corpus and the writ of amparo because those are what you call the great writ of liberty, extraordinary remedies. Now we cannot misuse them because pag binastos natin ‘yan mawawalan nang value. That is the only reason why I’m very careful about this. Don’t cheapen it, that’s why I would just wondering why. You were deposited midnight of Tuesday, then Wednesday they filed it one o’clock, another four o’clock, two in a row. So how come?
MR. LOZADA, Iyong nga po, Mr. Senator. Number one po, hindi po ako aware noon. So, kasi po ang umaabugado pa ho sa akin noon si Atty. Bautista. At si Atty. Bautista nga po busy siya kape-prepare noong aking affidavit. So hindi po ako ‘yong nag-ano noon, hindi ako ‘yong gumawa noon. Ginawa ho ata nila ‘yon noong tinatanong nila ako na kinuha nga ako ni Colonel Mascariñas, “Saan ka nila dadalhin?” Sabi ko, “Hindi ko alam.” So independent po ‘yong aksyon na ‘yon sa akin. Noon po ay nasa — kinukuha — dinadala nila ako — kung nasaan ako. Ano po? So I was not free as you would like to — akala n’yo lang po puwede akong umalis kung kalian — hindi po ako puwedeng gumanoon-ganoon. Under po ako sa kustodiya nina Colonel Mascariñas. Sila ang nagsasabi kung saan nila ako dadalhin.
SEN. ARROYO. Okay, you have said your piece of mind. The only thing I want to say is this ‘no. That you don’t trifle with the writ of habeas corpus and amparo because those are the great writs of liberty.
Now, Atty. Bautista, it seems that — although your name does not appear in either of the two petitions…
MR.BAUTISTA. Your, Honor, Mr. Chairman, I asked him about this. What is this petition for habeas corpus, amparo or about …? He said, “Wala akong alam diyan. It is my brother, my wife.” Ganoon, ganoon. And that is Wednesday. And the odd thing about this, it’s Wednesday, 1 o’clock while we were having lunch I called up Atty. Quimbo. Sabi ko, “We will surrender Lozada.” In fact, that is why I went to La Salle, Wednesday night, to arrange for his surrender in the morning without drama. But I think he wanted to surrender with drama. That is what happened.
SEN. ARROYO. You are very permissive about the two writs.
MR. BAUTISTA. I did not know about them. He denied having to do with them.
SEN. ARROYO. Because what we have here I am sure the Court of Appeals will ask the transcription about the proceedings here to find out just what happened.
MR. BAUTISTA. Well yesterday, I met his lawyer Melencio Sta. Maria who filed the habeas corpus. He said, “You are making waves filing these things?”
Hindi na, moot na yan,” sabi niya. I do not know what he meant by that.
MR. LOZADA. So pwede na po akong…
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. CAYETANO, A). Yes, Mr. Lozada, please, We will not interrupt you.
MR. LOZADA. So, ‘yon nga po noong panahon na ‘yon it was very obvious na wala — hindi ko na-exercise ‘yong aking free will. Hindi ho ako malaya noong panahon na ‘yon. So, binigyan ako ng gobyerno ng abogado na ‘yong abogado ‘yong gumawa ng affidavit na sabi ko nga may reservation ako. Ang ginawa ng pamilya ko since hindi nila nalalaman kung saan ako dinadala nina Colonel Mascariñas siguro ho para maging malaya ang aking paggagalaw, nagfile na po sila. So, ‘yon po ang aking ano diyan. So, I have no intention of cheapening a very precious law. Wala po ako noon. I guess — tapos po ‘yong trip sa Hong Kong na ‘yon you said that it was smacks of bad faith on me. Hindi naman ho talaga ako pupuntang London. Sinabi ko naman po sa kanila ‘yon. Sabi nila, “Hindi, umalis ka na muna.”
SEN. ARROYO. Kanino mo sinabi ‘yon?
MR. LOZADA. Kina Manny po. Kina Atty. Gaite at saka kay Secretary Atienza.
SEN. ARROYO. You mean to say all of them are in conspiracy that a travel order was issued for London yet the destination is only Hong Kong. We want that clear.
MR. LOZADA. Sir, I am not — hindi ko alam ang — pasensiya na po kayo kung ano kasi puro kayo mga legal ano. Hindi ko alam kung ano ‘yong legal anong ng conspiracy. Ang sinasabi ko sa inyo, alam nila na hindi talaga ako pupunta ng London.
MR. ATIENZA. Mr. Chairman…
MR. LOZADA. So, pwede ko nang ituloy ko na po kasi po baka makalimutan ko na ‘yong mga tanong sa akin ni Senator Arroyo.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. CAYETANO, A). Let Mr. Lozada continue then Secretary Atienza. Okay.
MR. LOZADA. Tapos ho ‘yong pag-alis kong ‘yon sa — marami pong nakakaalam. Nagpaalam ako kay Secretary Neri. Marami akong pinagpaalaman. Kung paano po ako nakuha ng ABS-CBN hindi ko po alam. So, ‘yong pong sa North Rail na ‘yon hindi ko po rin alam ‘yon. Nabanggit ko lang ‘yon dahil nga ‘yong ZTE, ‘yong Instik pasensiya na kayo ‘yong Chinese ano, rep. noong ZTE…
SEN. ARROYO. You are not supposed to answer North Rail because you said you don’t know about North Rail. But I think Secretary Atienza he says that you…
MR. LOZASDA. Pwede ko na hong ituloy, Senator, para hindi ko makalimutan ‘yong ano ninyo. Tapos sabi ninyo po ‘yong good faith at saka bad faith na huwag akong maging selective sa mga kinakausap ko. ‘Yong ginawa ninyong example ‘yong ABS-CBN, si Mike Enriquez po kinausap ko rin noong Sabado, so patas lang po ‘yon. Tapos po kung and sabi ninyo na bad faith ‘yong kinausap ko si Senator Lacson, nakausap ko rin ‘yong asawa sa bahay ninyo. Dinala po ako doon ni Tony Abaya. So patas. Opo. Pinatawag ninyo po ako roon sa bahay ninyo.
SEN. ARROYO. Who called you?
MR. LOZADA, Ewan ko. Pina — Meet niya po ako sa asawa ninyo. Basta po doon sa inyo, pagpasok dito sa parang gate ng tao, kumaliwa kami nang kaunti, pasok po kami doon sa pintuan, mayroong maliit na parang hallway na ganoon pagpasok ninyo parang atrium type nandito ‘yong napakagandang library ninyo sa gilid. Pinag wine and cheese po ako roon.
SEN. ARROYO. I don’t want you to talk about my wife before I ask her.
MR. LOZADA. Opo, pasensiya na po kayo.
SEN. ARROYO. Because otherwise you have been besmirching the names of everyone. Don’t try — don’t mess around with my wife.
MR. LOZADA. Hindi po. Sabi pinupunto ko lang po ‘yong good faith, bad faith na hindi po ako selective sa kinakausap ko na on both sides po may mga taong gusto sa aking kumausap sino naman po ako para tumanggi. So, pasensiya na po kayo. Hindi ho ano. Eh, kasi po parang sabi ninyo sa akin…
SEN. ARROYO. At the rate you are going and at the rate you are implicating every Tom, Dick and Harry here, I mean, how is this?
MR. LOZADA. Paano po ang magagawa ko. Kayo po ang nagbring up na huwag akong – I was just — pinapakita ko lang po sabi ninyo na para hindi good faith, bad faith dapat hindi ako selective. Gusto ko lang pong ipaalam na kung kinakausap – ayaw ko kasing masali-sali sa pulitika. Kaya nga…
SEN. ARROYO. Mr. Chairman, can I have the answer of Secretary Atienza because.
SEN. LACSON. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman.

206 comments

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    • cvj on March 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I was told that Kastari only limps when he runs. Otherwise he walks normally.

    Lee Kuan Yew said something to the effect that ‘the mistake is to think that we are infallible‘. Elitist’s karma.

    • BAYANI98 on March 13, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    When will the End come I wonder? I hope it comes soon…

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    okay. i seem to get a better sense of the conversation now.

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    cvj:

    hmmm…. i see your hate for elitists is universal. well, that’s good.

    • Madonna on March 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    hi manolo!

    Wow glad the comments section is back to the old format.

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    i missed the numbering, but yes, this format clearly delineates each comment from each other. 🙂

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    bayani98:

    maybe i have my Philippine history wrong (i wasn’t able to take in in university) but i am of the impression that in the olden days, people were more willing to band together to wrest their freedom from the hands of their oppressors. of course back then, the revolution happened in small stages, simply because it took a while for people in the Visayas to know what people in Luzon were doing, but the sense i got (of course this now enters the realm of historiography) was that throughout this archipelago the “tipping point” (much longed for now) was reached and each community decided to act at more or less the same time.

    of course i also get that there was something in the psyche of the Filipino at the time that allowed another colonial power (the Americans after the Spanish, but for a while we put up a pretty good fight) to bring us down, and thus our independence was merely a change in masters.

    now i don’t know if it’s apathy, fear, or a sense of hopelessness that will drive the situation, but i believe that it will take much more “abuse”, before the national house will be unified with regard to what to do about this government. the sense that this is yet another scheme by Imperial Manila still pervades a lot of the provinces i think.

    plus if compared with what the people were moving against… the many sins of the Arroyo administration are “venial” compared to those of previous oppressors. an acceptance of “gulangan” in our society has something to do with this. some people even become good at taking advantage of their fellow men. what Gloria is doing is just on a larger scale than what was previously experienced, and a lot more “out in the open” (because we’ll probably never know how bad it was during Marcos’ time).

    so i don’t know when it will end. Gloria and her minions have been careful to push just a little at a time, just enough to fall into the range of “pag-titiis”. and then there is the lack of agreement as to what is it that will be done. the regime takes advantage of this, using diversion and misdirection to diffuse the peoples’ outrage.

    then there is the lack of a clear alternative. this administration, in feigning collapse, instead get their enemies to trip over each other in competing for the national spotlight, sending the message that none of the current crop of politicos truly has the interest of the nation in mind.

    which is of course, true to a certain degree, many of these politicians being the latest crop of the oligarchy, who naturally has very little in common (and thus lacking sympathy for) with the common man.

    in this vacuum then, the only alternative may be in the people. and yet the people have been conditioned to believe that they are powerless.

    this is all changing though. the question is, will the transformation of the people happen fast enough?

    whenever it does end though, we may actually see the real birth of the Filipino.

    • maginoo on March 13, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    @ tonio

    it may take a little longer. our politics is a result of our collective history, culture, values, and attitudes. sad to say, patron-client relationships still exist in may parts of the country. let us just hope that the oligarchy becomes more enlightened.

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    @maginoo:

    that’s the thing, we can only rely on ourselves. the oligarchy’s senses have atrophied through generations of living a life of privilege. it is the one thing that frustrates people like cvj who want development initiatives to come from the rich.

    of course there are exceptions to the upper class, particularly from those who gained their affluence through commerce (i see no hope for the current generation inbred hacenderos, you can place your hope on their offspring though.) but they can only do so much. after all, business concerns will take precedence over the national interest. after all, these taipans became rich without any support. it is only understandable that they can help as far as they can sustain their own enterprises.

    the hope lies in the spread of knowledge and in organization towards the creation of a better society.

    it’s very motherhood, no practical solutions here. but our problems cut to the very core of each person. so a solution must necessarily come from within each and every person.

    • cvj on March 13, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Manolo, thanks for the return of your old blog format.

    Tonio (at 3:08 pm), thanks. I believe that elitism has no place in the modern world. At the level of description, it reveals a lack of understanding on the nature of modern society. At a normative level, anyone who considers himself part of a universal elite only betrays the limits of his or her own worldview.

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    oh wait… i have some ideas.

    maybe this year, one could:

    – indicate and pay the correct amount on one’s cedula.
    – will use the pedestrian bridge instead of crossing the street on those intersections marked “NAKAMAMATAY”, in fact, on all intersections where pedestrian areas are marked.
    – take the ticket instead of paying off the traffic enforcer.
    – flag down public transport in designated areas and wait till such transport gets to the sidewalk before boarding or getting off.

    small things. but they stimulate a change in one’s thoughts.

    • maginoo on March 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    @ tonio

    yes, of course each one must rely on his/her God-given talents and skills. but there are what are called ‘structural’ problems and inequalities, which again sadly the political elites (of which the oligarchs dominate) must correct and address.

    • tonio on March 13, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    @maginoo

    in our society, there is only one way we can express our choices of the people we place in the halls of power to govern us: our votes in elections.

    maybe in 2010, the people should take greater care in voting and ensuring (this is after all a crisis situation) that their votes are counted properly.

    perhaps we should send a clear message that we will only put in office those who will properly represent the will of each constituency. we will send the message that just because one is “a name” in their district, it is not a sure path to the elected office. (i can see my kin hating me now. ahahah!)

    let the candidates work to get elected, and work harder still in the time they are in office.

    • benign0 on March 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    this is all changing though. the question is, will the transformation of the people happen fast enough?

    whenever it does end though, we may actually see the real birth of the Filipino. — tonio

    It took Europe hundreds of years to extricate itself from the Dark Ages. Then again it took countries like Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and maybe soon, Malaysia only a matter of decades to get to 1st World status.

    Europe was hobbled by a powerful Church and feudal barrons, whilst the Asian Tigers — with the exception of Malaysia — were largely secular societies or at least societies not dominated by Judeo-Christian-Islamic organised religion.

    Philippine society today resembles Medieval Europe more than it resembles 1950’s Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, or Thailand.

    Doesn’t sound too promising, does it? 😉

    • cvj on March 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Manolo, i think the links to ‘fighting corruption.pdf’ and ‘critical-dev-constraints.pdf’ above need to be fixed. BTW, in his blog…

    http://www.rodrik.typepad.com/dani_rodriks_weblog/2008/03/papers-on-growt.html

    …economist Dani Rodrik cites that ADB paper you linked to as an example of the use of his Growth Diagnostics framework so its definitely worth reading.

    • DuckVader on March 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Benigno writes:

    Philippine society today resembles Medieval Europe more than it resembles 1950’s Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, or Thailand.

    Doesn’t sound too promising, does it? 😉
    ——–
    Since you’ve captured the problem in a couple of sentences, what is your answer in a couple of sentences in terms of what needs to be done? Because saying that the Philippines has a patronage-driven system whose economy is distorted by oligarchic interests is pushing an open book — in other words alam na nating lahat yan.

    What’s the answer?

    • Bert on March 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    “in this vacuum then, the only alternative may be in the people. and yet the people have been conditioned to believe that they are powerless.–tonio

    benigNo’s fault!

    • Bert on March 13, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    “Since you’ve captured the problem in a couple of sentences, what is your answer in a couple of sentences in terms of what needs to be done? Because saying that the Philippines has a patronage-driven system whose economy is distorted by oligarchic interests is pushing an open book — in other words alam na nating lahat yan.

    What’s the answer?–DuckVader to benigNo

    If I may speculate on the answer, the answer could be…”the Filipino people should develop brain”!

  1. Joker? Kaya nga pangalan Joker hehehe.

    That’s the trouble when one calls attention to his integrity and so-called high principles as in calling oneself Mr. Graftbuster, a blot looks as stark as a blot of ink on a newly bought white tee. You’d have kinder thoughts on people like Enrile or Angara because they have no pretensions to being principled political gladiators, just pragmatic fellows making profitable choices.

    • UP n student on March 13, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    In the 1950’s, the Philippines was considered structurally superior to Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan on various metrics (e.g. farm productivity, per-capita-GDP, technological superiority, communication among its population, educational attainment of the population).

    Maybe the goal is to go to the Philippines of the Fifties. But even back then, I suspect that the Philippines has a patronage-driven system whose economy was heavily influenced by oligarchic interests. Now if we only know what it was about the Philipines of 50’s that made the country “better”. Was it rock and roll? men wearing suits? spokening-English and wink-wink-independent-from-US-of-A? Less population? People going to Sunday services? Cigarettes, not shabu? Only the elite going overseas?

    Or was it — It’s the economy, stupid!!! with the average household income able to buy more of the needed goods and services.

    • mang_kiko on March 13, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Parehong rin Itong Governor nang New York; Crime Buster rin ito dati, pareho ni dating Mayor Guillame (tama ba spelling?) At ang kanyang specialty pa raw ay laban sa Prostitution Ring daw, di halos pareho rin kay JOKER na sabi Human Rights Fighter daw, pero sa akin lang ubod lang naman nang Yabang at parang Nawala na rin ang Principyo na siya ang ginawang hagdanan sa kanyang “political career”. Ibig sabihin ginamit lang nya ang pinakaimportante Prinsipyo nang Demokrasya para sa sariling Interest at Tapos Tinapon sa Imburnal, ma-ari Bininta rin..iyan po ay kuro-kuro lang ni mang_kiko…

    • supremo on March 13, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    What’s the answer?–DuckVader to benigNo

    I’m waiting for the answer too.

    • Aames on March 14, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Okay. I’m confused. According to Mr. Lacierda, “He (Lozada) never said that the lady-lawyer (Fely Arroyo) ever invited him to her house.” However, per the transcript, Lozada said (to Joker Arroyo), “Pinatawag ninyo po ako roon sa bahay ninyo”. So which is which?

    • cvj on March 14, 2008 at 12:37 am

    UPn, the economy of the Philippines only looked good because the other countries have not caught up. Taiwan, South Korea and even China decisively addressed inequality via land reform and embarked on an industrialization program. (China was initially a laggard because it experimented with backyard industrialization and ‘cultural revolution’ but it hit on the right policy mix in 1978.) Over here, the Oligarchs have held us back.

    • maginoo on March 14, 2008 at 12:53 am

    the “enlightened” self interest of the landed oligarchy must be hewn to the greater public interest.

    how to do it? i don’t think any meaningful social change/equalization will come about without a re-distribtution of power.

    again, the first order should be to amend the charter. but how do you expect those benefitting from the status quo to do it?

    vicious circle, no?

    • supremo on March 14, 2008 at 1:01 am

    “He (Lozada) never said that the lady-lawyer (Fely Arroyo) ever invited him to her house.” However, per the transcript, Lozada said (to Joker Arroyo), “Pinatawag ninyo po ako roon sa bahay ninyo”. So which is which?

    There is confusion if you selectively use the transcript. Lozada also said ‘Dinala po ako doon ni Tony Abaya.’ So the question is ‘Ano ang sinabi ni Tony kay Lozada para pumunta siya sa bahay ni Senator Arroyo?’

    • crisanto on March 14, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Aames,

    If you read the next line, this is what happened, I think:

    “SEN. ARROYO. Who called you?

    MR. LOZADA, Ewan ko. Pina – Meet niya po ako sa asawa ninyo. Basta po doon sa inyo, pagpasok dito sa parang gate ng tao, kumaliwa kami nang kaunti, pasok po kami doon sa pintuan, mayroong maliit na parang hallway na ganoon pagpasok ninyo parang atrium type nandito ‘yong napakagandang library ninyo sa gilid. Pinag wine and cheese po ako roon.”

    I think “niya” referred to Tony Abaya. And I think it was clear that in fairness to Senator Arroyo, he really did not know Fely and Jun met.

    • UP n student on March 14, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Would it not be nice if a party-of-voters gets created for the Philippines? The closest to this will be the “Roman Catholic” “BLOC”, who will deliver 25% or higher of cast votes based on a candidate’s stance on divorce. Wouldn’t it be nice if there is a party-of-voters that will consistently deliver 15% of votes cast based on “pro-business” issues, or another party that consistently deliver 15% or more of votes based on “health-care and education”.

    In the Philippines, candidates join the parties because the parties provide funds and other support to their candidates (in exchange for ????) and it is almost irrelevant what the candidate believes about, say, Constitution versus NCR-Vox-Populi, impeachment-versus-surge-the-Malacanang-gates.

    Abe, Bencard, Ca t, Supremo and others with a better view of US-of-A political parties…. In the US, the parties already have a built-in voting base. A huge voting base!!!! At least 35% of the votes will definitely go to the Republican candidate and at lest 35% of the votes will definitely go to the Democratic candidate regardless of the candidates’ age, sex and where the candidate got his college degree.

    The parties are defined by the underlying vote-base, and the vote-base has defined themselves (aligned themselves) based, not on personalities, but on philosophies. BrianB probably does not know New Mexico Governor Richardson, but because Richardson is a Democrat, there is a surge of key items that differentiates Richardson from Repub-candidate-Guiliani.

    A party-of-voters for the Philippines… a daunting organizational challenge….. Abe, how do you think this can be achieved?

    • UP n student on March 14, 2008 at 1:16 am

    If only B&White can deliver at least 10% of the votes based on their — B&White’s — endorsement.

    If only Cory-and-Landed-Democrats can deliver at least 10% of the votes based on her endorsement.

    If only FVR-and-Ex-Military can deliver at least 10% of the votes based on his endorsement.

    • UP n student on March 14, 2008 at 1:19 am

    Many elections seem to be about flavor-of-the-day-issues and won by the strength-of-the-circus (and maybe some other things)…. except for the CBCP/Catholic view of the key issues and the CBCP-candidate-endorsements.

    • UP n student on March 14, 2008 at 1:37 am

    The CBCP is de-facto head of a voting bloc.

    The military and police as a big-enough voting bloc — no.

    UP students as voting bloc — no.

    OFW “family” as voting bloc — no.

    ——–
    Interestingly (to me), Tsinoys as an informal big enough voting bloc — I don’t think so.

    • UP n student on March 14, 2008 at 1:39 am

    And the “pro-poor” as an identifiable big-enough voting bloc? I say this does not exist in the Philippines.

    • nash on March 14, 2008 at 3:46 am

    “What’s the answer?–DuckVader to benigNo”

    TAGAL naman.

    Ako rin still waiting for the answer..I also wanting to knows ano nga ba ang solution.

    maybe benign-zero is busy editing his blog….(or surfing….or having a barbie….)

    • anthony scalia on March 14, 2008 at 4:14 am

    many factors have held the country back. not just the oligarchs. also to blame are Pinoys who blame other Pinoys for whatever situation they are in, other Pinoys who still wait for government dole outs.

    the earlier Pinoys start taking personal responsibility for their own financial independence, the better.

    blaming the government and the oligarchs won’t take them anywhere (oops, going abroad pala is the default mode of Pinoys)

    • Bencard on March 14, 2008 at 4:14 am

    true to his usual form, panfilo lacson has hardly wiped the eggs off his face, when he embarked on yet another potential ignominy for himself. now, lacson is claiming that “sources” tells him that witness san miguel “talked” to malacanang, through gma’ secretary, prior to his testimony, and that he was told to deny the first couple’s “involvement” with nbn-zte deal. reeling from the blow of the stink bomb that lacson himself put together, he feels a need to present even a lame explanation for the debacle.

    even assuming, for argument’s sake, that san miguel could be manipulated to “lie” at the last minute, why would malacanang be so stupid as to “pressure” him right in the investigation room where hostile senators and their spies cum “sources” were lurking around. if san miguel was working for malacanang, there was plenty of time before his testimony that he could have re-assured the palace that she was not going to implicate the first couple. in fact, there was no need for him to make such a promise if that was the game plan.

    i think it’s really time for the media to be a little more selective about the “news” that they publish. a little investigating would go a long way towards really serving the public’s interest. totally outlandish claims or theories, especially from persons with history of, and reputation for, wild accusations, should not be allowed to see the light of day no matter what the price he is willing to pay.

    • DuckVader on March 14, 2008 at 4:23 am

    anthony scalia :

    many factors have held the country back. not just the oligarchs. also to blame are Pinoys who blame other Pinoys for whatever situation they are in, other Pinoys who still wait for government dole outs.

    ——

    More than half the US population blames Bush and Cheney. Or they blame Bill Clinton. The Japanese blame the LDP. The Russians blame Putin, or Yeltsin. The Chinese blame Jiang. Blaming somebody else happens around the world. Unless you can quantify it it a manner that shows a direct relationship to economic growth and development, this is a useless argument.

    • anthony scalia on March 14, 2008 at 4:59 am

    DuckVader,

    “Unless you can quantify it it a manner that shows a direct relationship to economic growth and development, this is a useless argument.”

    not really useless. im afraid that such a view just bolsters the view earlier floated – Pinoys blaming everybody except themselves. since the link of blaming with economic growth/development isn’t quantified, then the blaming can continue.

    at present, Pinoys blame ‘Hello Garci’ and gloria for their existing economic situation

    • benign0 on March 14, 2008 at 6:33 am

    TAGAL naman.

    Ako rin still waiting for the answer..I also wanting to knows ano nga ba ang solution.

    maybe benign-zero is busy editing his blog….(or surfing….or having a barbie….) — nash

    Stidi ka lang diyan, dude.

    You kinda remind me of a certain Juan and and a guava tree. I forget the actual story behind the two elements though. Anybody care to refresh my memory…

    – 😀

    • benign0 on March 14, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Maybe the goal is to go to the Philippines of the Fifties. But even back then, I suspect that the Philippines has a patronage-driven system whose economy was heavily influenced by oligarchic interests. Now if we only know what it was about the Philipines of 50’s that made the country “better”. — UP n student

    Assuming you are dead on about this suspicion of yours, it highlights the reason why this whole focus on moronic “patalsikin na, now na” approaches to change, and this pathetically chronic search for “heroes” to rescue Pinoys from dysfunctions of our own making is so hilarious.

    These problems we see now have been around for decades (even centuries) and transcend any one politician, any one political party, and any one social group.

    They are inherent to the Pinoy character itself.

    Political solutions will only get us so far.

    The real solution lies in a radical overhauling at the very fabric of the Pinoy character. We need to purge ourselves of no-results traditions, belief systems, and mindsets to truly change.

    • Geo on March 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

    How?

    Embrace globalization; open up the economy.

    The only businesses owned by the oligarchs that will survive are those that are very well run. Entrepreneurs will blossom.

    • DuckVader on March 14, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Benigno says:

    “The real solution lies in a radical overhauling at the very fabric of the Pinoy character. We need to purge ourselves of no-results traditions, belief systems, and mindsets to truly change.”

    This is like saying everybody needs serious change to be good, productive citizens who care about our country. It’s a motherhood statement. (To credit Jewel: But if praying were enough it would have come to be.)

    Assuming this is the correct answer, how do we accomplish this?

    • DuckVader on March 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Geo says:

    “Embrace globalization; open up the economy.

    The only businesses owned by the oligarchs that will survive are those that are very well run. Entrepreneurs will blossom.”

    But the oligarchs control the politicians who make the decisions on how open the economy will be. (And the politicians keep the voters ignorant so that they can’t make decisions based on these issued).

    Our problem is that the bureaucrats/policy makers depend on the oligarchs and thus can’t pass policies contrary to their interests. How do we break the chain?

    • tonio on March 14, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Duck Vader: (italics mine)

    But the oligarchs control the politicians who make the decisions on how open the economy will be. (And the politicians keep the voters ignorant so that they can’t make decisions based on these issued).

    Well, would you look at that… if the politicians keep the voters ignorant, then why don’t the rest of us make sure they aren’t?

    • tonio on March 14, 2008 at 9:52 am

    and are politicians really that powerful? powerful enough to keep the thousands in their charge ignorant? i’m sorry but i think the choice to stay ignorant is a personal one. one always has the means to bring themselves out of ignorance, no matter how bad their situation in life is.

    • KG on March 14, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Fianally, a solution from Benign0 instead of just problems. But we all know that it really is not that simple after all.

    Beliefs systems overhauling? Then we are going back to the Family component. Kung ano tinuro ni yaya, yan ang nagiging foundation ng belief system ng iba ngayun eh.Kidding aside,for those lucky enough to have even an elementary education;
    I remember one suggesting a ban on cathecism in schools, how can that happen in Catholic run schools,Iglesia run schools and non denominational ran schools and today because we are attempting to be close with our muslim kababayans,some one suggested we are taught their basic principles para mas maintindihan natin sila.

    Sa totoong buhay everything maybe good on paper,but the devil or the killjoy is in the details.

    Dstails ares the ones which complicate ,maybe that is why all consultants and even congress has nothing with implementations!

    That is why Benign0, we are always asking for details,but it is nice to hear solutions from you,for a change.

    Indeed a paradigm shift is what we need.

    To have have complete change first we must rebel with our parents and question our teachers and church leaders ,which goes back to questioning leaders,including the leader of the nation.

    See Benigs,that is what happens when all you look for are problems, instead of solutions.

  2. In China, the game plays YOU!

    • DuckVader on March 14, 2008 at 10:03 am

    ‘and are politicians really that powerful? powerful enough to keep the thousands in their charge ignorant? i’m sorry but i think the choice to stay ignorant is a personal one. one always has the means to bring themselves out of ignorance, no matter how bad their situation in life is.”

    Tonio: You mean to tell me you haven’t seen government behavior that tries to deny you information that you may want. The denial can happen explicitly (no we won’t give you that information) or implicitly (20 pesos per page of transcript, please and please submit a certified request, etc.)

    As for keeping people ignorant, what is the probability of a school kid in Mindanao, Samar, Bicol region making it to college with enough skills to discuss, debate and tackle issues such as globalization, removal of monopolies, oligarchic and feudal structures, or privatization? What stands in their way: access to good primary schools, cost of education, cost of secondary education, making a living, cost of good college education, access to information and materials? Honestly, do you think that the son of a farmer, no matter how well-meaning his family is in giving him an education, has the dice loaded against him? Some people remain ignorant because of wrong decisions by them, that is admitted. But to say that the greater number remain ignorant because of their choices is a questionable assumption. Do you honestly believe that the majority of Filipinos do not want better education, better choices, more informed debate?

    • DuckVader on March 14, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Tonio writes:

    “Well, would you look at that… if the politicians keep the voters ignorant, then why don’t the rest of us make sure they aren’t?”

    Because voter education is a public good. Everyone wants its benefit, but no one wants to bear the cost. Therefore to have a campaign to counter the politicans requires an extremely expensive and well-organized political machinery. Mahina utak ko; I can’t even imagine how to do that, honestly. I know of good people who have tried, but sustaining that organization for several elections to weaken the politicans is really difficult. Suggestions on how to do it are welcome!

    • tonio on March 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

    DuckVader:

    Therefore to have a campaign to counter the politicans requires an extremely expensive and well-organized political machinery.

    i dunno Vader, play politics against the politicians? that’s a scary thought even for me. besides, the objective is not to weaken the politicians, but strengthen the voter. there need not be something we are fighting against. i don’t have concrete ideas this early in the morning… but i do have a sort of lead: practically everyone has a celphone…

    • tonio on March 14, 2008 at 10:24 am

    DuckVader:

    But to say that the greater number remain ignorant because of their choices is a questionable assumption. Do you honestly believe that the majority of Filipinos do not want better education, better choices, more informed debate?

    hmm… I might be straying over into Benign0-land by saying this but here goes…

    our history is replete with people who educated themselves. our panoply of heroes not only includes members of the intelligentsia like Rizal, but people like Bonifacio. Here’s a guy who’s had the “dice loaded against him” too. but did he sit in his bahay kubo lamenting his fate? he made a choice, right?

    do you blame the politicians and the oligarchy if people would rather watch Wowowee than keep themselves informed and educated?

    the blame game, as mentioned elsewhere, gets you nowhere.

    i believe that your life is your responsibility, not anyone else’s.

    in the afterlife, as is popularly described, you face your judgment alone. i don’t think pointing the fingers at your politician, or the corrupt society, or mass media, or anywhere else while help your case much.

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