Anatomy of fraud

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(Right: photo looted from Stepping on Poop)

Newsbreak also has a story on how Pinoy Big Brother has not only taken the country by storm, but refilled the coffers of its network. Ok, so that was a hangover from yesterday’s entry.

The real big news comes from Newsbreak, actually. Five stories:

Madame Operator, Part I: At long last, the various camps that worked with, against, and without knowing, each other during the President’s campaign are fleshed out. The President’s role as the one knowing everyone and having the big picture is clarified, too:

NEWSBREAK revisited the 2004 Arroyo campaign. We established the following:

*There were at least four groups that operated independently of each other. Only the President knew of the businesses of all four.

*The President worked with unaccountable persons in three of the parallel groups.

*Ms. Arroyo appears to be the first post-Marcos presidential candidate to have combined and maximized electoral dirty tricks from over half a century, foremost of which were the utilization of the armed forces for partisan activities, and tampering with election results.

*The alleged large-scale cheating was easily carried out because the election manipulators who honed their skills since the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, and who worked in the campaign of Fidel Ramos, also played crucial roles in the Arroyo campaign.

Madame Operator, Part II: The “Little Big Brother” and “Antidote” Groups in the President’s electoral machinery are described: they’re the most interesting. “Little Big Brother” refers to the President’s younger brother, Diosdado Macapagal, Jr.; the “Antidote Group,” the magazine says, infiltrated the House of Representatives to steal and substitute electoral documents:

We reported that the operation in Mindanao during the canvassing period, which was led by Garcillano, was done in haste and that operators only tampered with the figures in the certificates of canvass. The figures, therefore, could not be supported by the data in the election returns and statements of votes. Since Fernando Poe Jr. had filed a protest, there loomed the possibility that the mismatch in the figures would be discovered. Thus, there was an operation to sneak into the ballot boxes in Batasan the election documents with “corrected” and consistent figures.

Suspicious Operations: How a War Room was established within the premises of the Department of National Defense to “covertly monitor electoral results”:

Based on documents gathered by NEWSBREAK, it appears that the plan was hatched in February 2004 under the cover of an information and communication technology (ICT) support plan for the DND Election Action Committee (Deac). This action committee is a first in contemporary DND history.

Supposedly, the ICT support plan aimed, among others, to identify problem areas, facilitate database buildup of identified areas of concern; map out and monitor election-related events and enable network connectivity of the Deac. Tapped for the ICT support plan was the Defense Information and Communication Office (Dicto).

In the Shadows: Who wiretapped Virgilio Garcillano and who ordered the wiretapping? At last, something approximating an answer (and the President’s brother won’t like this article):

The motive? Some of the key campaign supporters of President Arroyo were not certain of Garcillano’s loyalties. They wanted to make sure that he was working for the President alone, thus the decision to monitor him. Note that the recorded conversations were those between the President and Garcillano during the most critical part of the election period, the canvassing of votes, or weeks after election day.

The other leading investigative journalist’s group, PCIJ, has three stories on food and the Filipino. One is about corned beef, which has become a Filipino staple; besides beef there’s carabao in those cans, too. The other story is an ironic story indeed: at a time when life is getting harder and harder, why are more and more Filipinos getting fat?

In other news:

The Palace announces that the President does not blog. Really. So, uh, if you didn’t know, Philippine President Joins Blogosphere is a parody blog. Really. But what can’t be ignored is that ( according to Leon Kilat) the President has been successfully Google bombed.

Mindanews has survival tips for traveling in Mindanao.

Israel announces it’s going to welcome more Filipino caregivers.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is The Supremo Lives (check out La Vida Lawyer for a really well done series on Bonifacio, too).

Dan Mariano has a very interesting column on rice, debunking some myths about Filipino rice farmers and pointing out China is doing to rice what it’s already doing to oil -importing so much it’s affecting prices internationally (on a related note, there’s Go Figure on supermarkets and fiscal policy, individually and relatedly; blurry brain says our Agriculture officials deserve compliments for being transparent with the public on government negotiating policies for the Doha round).

In Cocktails, business scuttlebutt concerning the resignation of the head of Smart Communications. This is, apparently, a very big deal in business circles.

The blogosphere has Sassy Lawyer pointing out the way Market Man (one of my favorite food blogs) was plagiarized. Market Man blogs about it, and Stepping on Poop has a good roundup written in his inimitable style.

Philippine Commentary takes exception to a Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial, promotes ethical standards for bloggers, and adds they (we) have the same ethical considerations as mainstream media journalists. On a further journalist-related note, Sef suggests journalists being killed have made themselves targets. Because they’re in politics.

John Marzan has a good roundup of the non-impression made by the Philippines at Apec.

Filipino Librarian points to a story of a librarian fired by a Catholic school because he dared enter into Gay marriage. My first instinct was to give Miriam College the benefit of the doubt, then I suddenly remembered wading into a controversy in which students were expelled for publishing a student literary journal with erotic poetry. So I say: sue the Hell out of Miriam College. Perhaps Miriam College wants to support the “ex-gay movement,” described and debunked by The Disenchanted Forest.

Torn & Frayed writes about “the new normal,” parents rather amazed their kids don’t leave home. Perhaps a return to traditional values? Asians might wonder what all the fuss is all about.

BuzzMachine has constructive criticism for Open Source Media (I for one, favor a return to the name Pajamas Media).

Kudos to Newsroom Barkada, nominated as a semifinalist for the 2005 Philippine Blog Awards.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

3 thoughts on “Anatomy of fraud

  1. Dan Mariano’s warning about a food crisis, similar to the present oil crisis, makes sense. For a broader picture, here are some other points to ponder:

    1. Indonesia is the biggest and most productive rice producer in ASEAN. It produces 4.25 tons of rice/hectare due to improvements in irrigation and planting material. However, it still cannot produce enough to feed its 200 million population. It is the biggest rice importer in the region.

    2. Vietnam has made the biggest strides in rice production. Its 4.11 tons/hectare average production is 2nd to Indonesia in the region. It is the country to watch as far as rice production is concerned.

    3. The Philippines has 2.4 million hecatares of irrigated ricefields and 1.3 million hectares of rain-fed ricelands. This means that 60% of Philippine ricefields are irrigated, yet it is the only country in ASEAN where rice production has dropped since the 1970’s. This is attributable to deterioration of fields and inputs. The Philippines produces, on the average, 2.95 tons of rice/hectare.

    4. Thailand has 2 million hectares of irrigated ricefields, only 20% of its total rice area of 10 million hectares (as compared to 60% for the Philippines). Yet, despite the fact that the vast majority of rice production is rain-fed (which is less capital and cost-intensive), it produces, on the average, 2.33 tons/hectare. Not too distant from the Philippines’ average productivity. This enables Thailand to be a lower-cost producer of rice and to be a competitive exporter of rice to the world market.

    The fact that China is now importing rice, and will most likely continue to do so in the future, is alarming. When you factor in other highly populated Asian countries like Indonesia and India, the likelihood of a food crisis becomes more probable. That could, indeed, be more excruciating than the oil crisis because it hits us all right in the belly.

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