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Resignation isn't a get out of jail free card
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on October 2, 2007 199 Comments 6 min read
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Let me pay tribute to my former professor, Alex Magno, and his column today, on Burma. I’ve often been critical of him, but this column was splendid.

Concerning Benjamin Abalos,Oragon! asks, why resign? Newsstand and Ricky Carandang boils down the whole thing to its essentials: Abalos knew he’d be impeached, and he decided to fall on his sword to spare his family dire political prospects and spare the Palace fallout. tonyo features a roundup of blogger reactions. And of course, smoke rocks (not that I always agree).

Personally, my view is simple. For those calling for his resignation for ages now, don’t hit a man when he’s down. He resigned to save his ass, but he still resigned. Give him credit for that. Now, on to the harder part, hauling him off to court. Credit is due for resigning but that’s as far as credit goes. In a country where too few resign despite the public clamor to do so, he did it; but he also did it, to avoid what could have been an historic impeachment. So a historic trial necessarily comes next.

A quick note, primarily addressed to faithful reader Bencard, who has gotten me thinking on my tendency to support leniency for former president Estrada. My general principle is imprisonment really does nothing, I think it only leads to hardened and tougher criminals. In fact, my inclination is to support imprisonment only for three kinds of criminals: murderers, rapists/molesters and big-time drug dealers. All other crimes should be handled with fines and some sort of community service truly beneficial to the public. Anyone who has ever visited a jail, talked to inmates, knows that those crammed into jails enter a nightmarish world in which crime rules every aspect of the inmates’ lives.

For political crimes including plunder, which is grand-scale theft, I really think that what that UP Professor pointed out is a good idea. He clarified that what he said was the Filipino concept of justice is restitution, not retribution, that for Estrada, what the public wanted wasn’t just for the money he stole or illegally acquired to be returned to the public, but that he should also then quit politics, having betrayed public trust.

So, I support Estrada’s being allowed to go home, but only on two conditions: that assets forfeited by the courts remain forfeited (Estrada claims, anyway, rightly or wrongly, those assets were never his) but also, a ban on political participation. He can go home, but shut up, and not even be allowed to vote. And that should be the rule for all public officials accused of illegally amassing fortunes: return the money, and quit politics. Without these two requirements, no pardon should be considered or offered, because as so many have reminded me, there is an important precedent that’s been set.

The ever-impressive Mon Casiple gives his analysis of the whole ZTE deal and its fallout:

Neri testified that the President told him not to accept the bribe. He thought that may be sufficient to end the matter, even if it puts Abalos in hot water. However, he refused to elaborate or to testify on other conversations with the President regarding the ZTE matter, citing “executive privilege.”

Of course, this puts the Neri testimony on a continuing downslide thereafter as senators expectedly try to elicit the information behind the “executive privilege.” Many do not believe he told the other half of the truth, may be not even the truth he told — primarily because of his own hypes before the Senate testimony. It is also a glaring inconsistency when he readily volunteered the fact of his talk with the President regarding the Abalos bribe, but not the other talks on the ZTE matter itself.

However, we can already glimpse something from the Neri testimony. One, there is definitely the BIG ONE in terms of information hiding behind the “executive privilege.” Two, there are possibly others–more powerful and far more vulnerable–deeply involved in the ZTE scandal. Three, the ZTE scandal has implications that go to the heart of the survival of the GMA administration and ruling coalition–possibly more than the Garci tapes scandal itself.

Secretary Neri is protecting not only the President but an entire arrangement regarding Chinese investments and loans in the Philippines. The arrangement, I think, stinks to high heavens. It is too early to say but there are certain implications already on Philippine national security, the government’s “special relations” with the United States, Philippine sovereignty and national patrimony, violations of the Constitution, and sectoral concerns.

Senator Miriam Santiago is partly correct when she raised the observation that it is all a “squabble over kickbacks.” After all, at the heart of it all is the purported availability of some $18 billion dollars for Chinese investments and loans for the Philippines–a sum approaching, if not surpassing, the money available during the Marcos one-man rule. Senator Mar Roxas himself said the ZTE deal seems to be a “supply-side” decision–meaning the availability of the Chinese money preceded the project. However, as the ZTE drama unfolds, it is slowly becoming clear that what is at stake is the survival of the GMA administration itself.

Given the situation that she failed to reconcile with the opposition after the 2007 elections, that she still does not have any agreement with any or all of the presidentiables, and that there is the inability (for the present) to force a martial rule, GMA is running a clear risk of going down even before the 2010 term ending. The clock is running out on her, with diminishing influence over events as perceptions increase over her lame-duck presidency. The ruling coalition does not have a viable presidentiable at this time, cannot absorb the pressures, and may disintegrate well before 2010.

The ZTE scandal may well be the Waterloo of the Arroyo presidency.

New Philippine Revolution asks, who’s next?

Meanwhile, Arroyo: Name 4 senators who leaked Neri executive session.

Yesterday’s blog entry triggered a flashback in Slap Happy: there’s a related entry in Tongue In, Anew.

Quixotic Kibitzer asks tough questions concerning the telcos and wiretapping.In an earlier blog entry, Ricky Carandang points out the AFP now has ample justifications for disciplining some of its personnel.

Manila Bay Watch tackles questions of corruption.

stories from the middle earth press room on school rivalries.

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  1. Personally, my view is simple. For those calling for his resignation for ages now, don’t hit a man when he’s down. He resigned to save his ass, but he still resigned. Give him credit for that. Now, on to the harder part, hauling him off to court. Credit is due for resigning but that’s as far as credit goes. In a country where too few resign despite the public clamor to do so, he did it; but he also did it, to avoid what could have been an historic impeachment. So a historic trial necessarily comes next. – mlq3

    A quick comment on Abalos’ resignation. He has apparently resigned because of an impending impeachment proceedings the ultimate purpose of which is the capital punishment of removal from office.

    If the impeached public officer who is found guilty is an elected one, removal could be equivalent to an un-election process. If the public officer is non-elected, the same penalty means the pre-termination of his office tenure otherwise secured by law or the constitution. In either case, “resignation” is equivalent to a plea of guilty AND service of sentence. So, not only that there is nothing honorable to it except possibly to escape the disgrace of public execution, the official who convicted and cut himself could not possibly go after his accusers in another forum to obtain his redemption. For all intents and purposes, as regards the office from which he is removed, the removal is as final as the severance of the head of the condemned that rolled off quickly to the ground.

    On the other hand, I’m seeing unfortunately a dearth of debate on the culpability of the ZTE officials who could have violated Philippine laws (remember that JdV3 has categorically testified under oath that a bribe in advance was given to Abalos by certain ZTE official). Going after these corrupt foreigners to the fullest extent of the our laws, the way Jimenez, Imelda Marcos and Joma Sison have been made to face justice in other jurisdictions, is an opportunity for the Philippine government to prove to the world that the country is not as corrupt as the survey says.

  2. remember that JdV3 has categorically testified under oath that a bribe in advance was given to Abalos by certain ZTE official…

    even if money did change hands, our consolation is that the NBN-with-ZTE is already KO’d (kayoed).

    so, in unison…Let’s. Move. On.

  3. “resignation isn’t a get out of jail free card”? who says abalos’ resignation will prevent him from going to jail if, and only if, properly indicted, prosecuted and convicted in a court of law for any crime? it goes without saying that, as far as impeachment is concerned, the idea is moot and academic. one doesn’t even have to be a law student to know that.

    it was indeed a smart move for abalos to resign. given his political unpopularity and the hostile forces he is up against in congress, his impeachment there and eventual conviction in the senate (in which he is not less despised) are almost a foregone conclusion.

    being indicted and convicted in a court of law are entirely different matters for consideration based on what is now publicly known. so far, the likelihood of both is highly improbable. the bare allegations of neri and joey, as to separate offers of bribery made to each of them, will undergo severe tests of admissibility, reliability and credibility, and weight. the ultimate question is whether such uncorroborated allegations, without more, will suffice to convict “beyond reasonable doubt”. personally, i think that, with respect to abalos, it would have been far easier to convict him in an impeachment proceedings (a political exercise) than in a criminal prosecution ( a strictly judicial process).

    that is why, it amuses me to hear people in this blog talking about sending pgma to jail (a la estrada) after her term expires in 2010. that kind of reprisal could only be possible, i think, if the entire legal system is radically changed, an event which would involve necessarily the overthrow of the current constitutional government.

  4. If the Authorities will wait for Testimonies and Words of accusers as evidence to file charges for indictment and then Trial of the wrongdoers, then chances of Justice being served is NIL. That’s the reason why the NBI and the other police authorities have their own “experts” in the field of Crime Investigations for all different crimes, including commercial crimes, crimes against persons, crime against the government and breach of trusts.

    Now the questions here is simply why with these allegations of a very serious crime in NBN deal, there were no Calls from the President, the senate or the Congress as a whole for the NBI or any proper authorities to initiate the “proper investigation” to dig in all the facts and proceed with proper action? That should have been the Judicial Process, instead of the Senate Inquiry or trial by the Media which is always divisive and is never conclusive…

  5. My general principle is imprisonment really does nothing, I think it only leads to hardened and tougher criminals. In fact, my inclination is to support imprisonment only for three kinds of criminals: murderers, rapists/molesters and big-time drug dealers. All other crimes should be handled with fines and some sort of community service truly beneficial to the public. Anyone who has ever visited a jail, talked to inmates, knows that those crammed into jails enter a nightmarish world in which crime rules every aspect of the inmates’ lives.
    ——————————————————–

    Manolo,

    Dito medyo magkakasundo tayo….

    I actually expereinced being locked up here 2 years ago. A policeman caught me lighting a cigarrete on my way out of the subway. I reasoned out that I am almost out of the subway so the offense is excusable. Unfortunately, he said there is an ticket that is popping up on my record so he needed to bring me to the police station for me to settle it. The ticket is about improper garbage disposal in one of the project in Manhattan that I forgot to settle for 3 years now.

    So I was in holding cell for almost 24 hrs. I got an automatic dismissal for the smoking offense. And was sent home with an order from the court to settle the ticket in the manhatan court. I went to the manhatan court and the ticket was just thrown away. I was ask to go to a room for some paper work. It turned out that was the office of a socail worker. I was made to sign a paper that stating that i completed a community service by conducting lecture to group of offender without actually doing. The social worker explaine dto me that te offence is really minor.

    While i was in a holding cell earlier, I was talking to a lot of people in the cell. There wer about 20 peopel ina cell. People are group according to the type of offense. Our cell was labeled ” Misdemeanor”. Most of the young people in our cell was caught using drugs. I ask almost everytiem if it was their first tiem to be locked up. And almost 8o % said they are repeat offenders.

    Later, I learned that during first offense they are given automatic dismissal and has to render community service. But on the suceeding offense they have to do jail time.

    Obviously, serving jail time does not stop them from using drugs. It was here that I believe the US government should find a better way of handling drug users than just throwing them in jail.

  6. On erap, Now I clearly understand where you are coming from. I think I can go with you on this.

    But please never ever an unconditional pardon.

  7. On Abalos, I woud actually prefer impeachment than resignation. But then he already resigned…

  8. “even if money did change hands, our consolation is that the NBN-with-ZTE is already KO’d (kayoed).Baycas”

    In unison:

    Let’s Forget about It

    Let’s Move On.

    Happy Days are here again!

  9. “My general principle is imprisonment really does nothing, I think it only leads to hardened and tougher criminals. In fact, my inclination is to support imprisonment only for three kinds of criminals: murderers, rapists/molesters and big-time drug dealers. All other crimes should be handled with fines and some sort of community service truly beneficial to the public. Anyone who has ever visited a jail, talked to inmates, knows that those crammed into jails enter a nightmarish world in which crime rules every aspect of the inmates’ lives.”

    I agree, prison could even be “informal classrooms” for those who are just there for “misdemeanor” and become opportunities for them to grow into hardened criminals – they have the best teachers there, people who really “walk the talk.” But then again, the first impulse when dealing with “criminal” behaviour is to “isolate” them so they would not constitute a threat to others and prevent them from further harming themselves also. Psychological or counselling or any other form of intervention costs manpower and money, resources we don’t have much of. For crimes like plunder or corruption I think hefty fines and community service is advisable though.

  10. “In unison:
    Let’s Forget about It
    Let’s Move On.
    Happy Days are here again!” -tdc

    Here, here, lets move on!

  11. How many times have we seen this movie?

    As soon as it becomes obvious that this ZTE issue cannot remove GMA from power (due to lack of evidence), it will fade away. The only mention of it will be when anti-GMA types will include it in their list of examples of “lying, cheating and stealing” (Pidal, Garci, Northrail, Macapagal highway, Fertilizer, etc.).

    This “search for The Truth” mantra is not about truth; it’s all about politics. Only God knows the truth. Us mere mortals have devised imperfect systems and institutions…which are, of course, populated with imperfect human beings. But that’s the best we can do.

    Bottom line: Create the rules and follow them. No exceptions. Be responsible to society and be accountable for your actions. Meanwhile, use the proper tools at our disposal to chase, catch, convict and punish the rule-breakers.

    Why can’t everyone stick to these simple guidelines of running a society?

  12. I just can’t stop myself.

    The Arroyo’s are saying “catch us if you can you amateurs!” “hahahaha, hahahaha!” (ala Dr. Evil)

  13. I saw the explainer show with yuga.

    You guys made some good points. the senators/media missed on the missing ‘bill of materials’ (?) to check on overpricing.

    For the first time, WIMAX the next generation wifi was discussed.

    About having more security by owning the backbone, I would suggest looking at VPN technology (virtual private network). The so-called tunneling protocal. You get to have a private ‘tunnel’ using the public networks.

    Finally, as to the comments regarding senators not being familiar with technology. You have to give credit to Alan Peter Cayetano. If I recall, he discussed Skype during the Senate hearings.

  14. On the economic front, I sure hope the government does NOT give up it’s idea to build an NBN. This is a CRITICAL piece of infrastructure in a country which desperately needs to rapidly and massively upgrade its infrastructure.

    This is also a critical piece of infrastructure during the dawning of the Age of Information. It is a chance to leapfrog, technology-wise, from the dark ages to the future.

    I hope the whole project is reviewed — transparently — and implemented. I’ll bet you that the equipment will still be ZTE’s (outside shot: Hwa Wei’s)…it’ll just be a matter of BOO, BOT, G2G or whatever. Hopefully, it won’t be dragged out too long…which, of course, is a real danger. It’s not like we can wait around while the world speeds forward…..

  15. “This is a CRITICAL piece of infrastructure in a country which desperately needs to rapidly and massively upgrade its infrastructure.” – geo

    You have my vote there!

  16. Why can’t everyone stick to these simple guidelines of running a society? – Geo

    …because society itself is not simple. Lawyer-types would want to reduce it to legal procedure. Businessman-types just want to focus on their own bottomline. What we forget is that society (at least the more developed parts of it) is sustained by complex interactions among its different subsystems. Following ‘simple guidelines’ is being simplistic especially when faced with contradictions.

  17. When we say ‘critical’, we have to ask ‘critical’ compared to what? I think we’re taking too many things as a given here.

  18. It’s not that complex, cvj.

    Laws and rules are created in many kinds of environments. Every business is bound by external laws and by its own internall rules and regulations. In most organizations, processes and procedures must be strictly followed.

    Erap was NOT impeached properly. Erap was proven guilty of plunder. Find the proof of wrongdoing and convict…legally. Wiretapping is illegal; find the culprits. If GMA lied, cheated or stole, prove it. If not now, later (under another admin’s DOJ, Ombudsman, etc).

    Do it the right way in the right forum. Simple. That’s what “advanced civilizations” do. Aren’t we one of them???

  19. “The older I grow, the more clearly I perceive the dignity and winning beauty of simplicity in thought, conduct and speech: a desire to simplify all that is complicated and to treat everything with the greatest naturalness and clarity.” – Pope John XXIII, Journal of a Soul

  20. let’s forget about the whole thing and…

    let’s. move. on.

    catch us if you can. ha ha ha

  21. “Crtical”, in my opinion, for the Philippines:

    1. Drastically improve the efficiency of the government.

    2. Open up the marketplace to global competition.

  22. “When we say ‘critical’, we have to ask ‘critical’ compared to what? I think we’re taking too many things as a given here.”

    We’re talking about this new “toy for big boys,” I want it too, I want to be able to use it, play with it, take advantage of it, and not just look at my neighbors with envy.

    “I feel the need, the need for speed!” – Tom Cruise , Top Gun

  23. “let’s forget about the whole thing and…

    let’s. move. on.

    The Gloria, Mike and Pidal 5 song

    catch us if you can. ha ha ha from below”
    Here we come again, mmmm-mm-mm
    Catch us if you can, mmmm-mm-mm
    Time to get a move on, mmmm-mm-mm
    We will yell with all of our might

    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can

    Now we gotta run, mmmm-mm-mm
    No more time for fun, mmmm-mm-mm
    When we’re gettin’ angry, mmmm-mm-mm
    We will yell with all of our might

    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can

    [Harmonica]

    Here we come again, mmmm-mm-mm
    Catch us if you can, mmmm-mm-mm
    Time to get a move on, mmmm-mm-mm
    We will yell with all of our might

    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can
    Catch us if you can

  24. “About having more security by owning the backbone, I would suggest looking at VPN technology (virtual private network). The so-called tunneling protocal. You get to have a private ‘tunnel’ using the public networks”
    ——————————–
    jztan — The problem is that the existing private backbones are wholly inadequate…never mind that they charge too much.

    Despite what the hired guns from UP said, the existant duopoly cannot deliver…and what it delivers is very expensive. Joker complained how the franchishes have not built the X amount of landlines nor built in the remote locations…which were requirements of the initial franchise approvals to begin with!!!

    Meanwhile, Joker reiterated that the telcos were successfully refusing to meaningfully lower their charges to the extremely-high user — the government. For years.

    Neri complained of monopolies, duopolies and oligarchies. He mentioned sea ports, air rights and TELCOS. The very things this government needs to focus on — infrastructure — are dominated by a handful.

    So, since the domestic telcos don’t offer the right solution, why not go BOT, then? This is what JDV always wants. This is what JDV3 was supposedly offering. But was he?

    It seemed to me that it was actually a BOO. That menas the private entity would build it, operate it and own it. The gov would simply be a user. Problem is: The chances are very high that the rates would still be exhorbitant. Security would remain an issue as well.

    A bigger problem — for the telcos — is that such an arrangement would actually create a third telco. You think the duopoly would like to see that? They might even find ways to prevent it, no?

    So who should build it? Run it?

    So even the hypothetical “best-run government ever” would be in the same exact mess. What a conundrum. How to improve such critical infrastructure in light of this situation?

    What would you (or anyone) do?

  25. I couldn’t help but notice there are some people here who when watching a movie tend to root for the bad guy or contrabida “secretly,” the god guy almost always looks like a pushover. HAHAHAHAHAHA! (GMA ala Dr. Evil) hahahahahaha! (Luli as mini me)

  26. Hey didn’t anybody see “Austin Powers?” the villain there was Dr. Evil (with a mole on his cheek), get it?

  27. Geo, it is not that simple because laws and rules can and have been subverted by those who have the power to do so. That is why in more progressive societies like Japan, South Korea or the USA, written rules are supplemented by political and social norms. Over there, you see officials still have a modicum of ‘delicadeza’. The Prime Minister of Japan recently resigned, a few years ago the Chairman of one of the Korean Chaebols jumped from a building, even Nixon had to resign because his Republican partymates could no longer deny the obvious. That’s how complex societies work. Over here, what you have are people who say that should ‘simply’ follow the rules as if that will take care of everything, never mind the obvious contradictions.

  28. cvj,

    In two examples you gave, the men had been caught not following the rules. Abe’s premiership was a failure domestically. These guys gave up because they had already lost the battle and war. The rules caught them or forced them out as well.

    Step one is follow the rules. Let’s try doing that first…then let’s see what happens.

    Are you advocating that we should all disregard the rules??? Or only some of them? Some of the time? Who would decide when and what we can ignore?

  29. Geo, i’m not advocating that we disregard the rules, only that we should not disregard the obvious and blindly follow the rules. I happen to believe that context is important, but maybe that’s just me so you don’t have to be worried. I’m sure you’ll find enough like-minded souls who would rather move-on and beat up the Erap issue like a dead horse.

  30. “Crtical”, in my opinion, for the Philippines:
    1. Drastically improve the efficiency of the government.
    2. Open up the marketplace to global competition. – Geo

    You have to go beyond those motherhood statements. I think you’ve been in the industry long enough to see that ‘critical’ projects are a dime a dozen.

    If the problem is the price charged by TELCO providers, then government can first find out whether:

    1. This is because of cost pressures (e.g. cellphone towers being blown up or cost of laying cables or cost of paying off loans).
    2. Inadequate demand i.e. too few people paying for the same infrastructure; or
    3. because a duopoly exist and the telcos can afford to charge higher fees because the consumers including the government does not have the bargaining power.

    The answer (or answers) to the above question will then give an indication of what to do next. For example,

    1. If it’s because of costs pressures, then government can help telcos by providing security to cellphone towers, embarking on a joint cable laying project or seek to refinance loans.
    2. If it’s because of inadequate demand, then setting up a separate backbone for NBN would mean that the telcos would have to pass off the higher costs to us private consumers. That means that we pay twice, for the loans and for the higher private telco costs.
    3. If it’s because of a duopoly, then we have to revisit why Telco deregulation failed and look at options such as bringing in a foreign telco, imposing price controls or nationalization.

  31. cvj — I don’t say “move on” and I don’t have an Erap drum to beat. I say “follow the rules”.

    To be clear, I don’t think the rules were followed in ousting Erap. That has caused a TON of problems right there. He WAS properly convicted, though. Both a long jail term and a Presidential Pardon are part of the rules.

    To be clear, I don’t say “move on” about ZTE…and especially about NBN (which, I believe is very imprtant). I also don’t say “move on” about the issue of potential bribery or misdeeds. I think the issues should be pursued in the right fora — the courts.

    But I ask you — if there are times when “context” and “the obvious” are to trump following the rules…who gets to make those decisions? You? GMA? Me? Cayetano? Abalos?

  32. rego, interesting experience. ako naman, ang pananaw ko diyan, all of us have been bad at one point or another, and the times, at least in my life, where i learned you could be good (or at least better) and not bad anymore, was not when i was severely punished, but patiently told why what i did was wrong not only to others, but to myself.

    then of course you have the experiences in school where you visit prisons, talk to inmates; as a journalist i encounter people who have had to endure the justice system whose only lesson is, kung wala kang pera, o konek, walang hustisya.

    then you read back and learn, sa muntinlupa dati, at least prisoners learned furniture making, lahat ng mga tanggapan ng gobierno may furniture na gawa ng mga preso, may income ang mga preso at livelihood, maganda pa ang mga kasangkapan ng pamahalaan noon, at halos walang oportunidad upang i-raket ang procurement ng furniture.

    o kaya sa iawahig puwedeng magtanim ang mga preso, malusog sila at mas may dignidad ang pagkakapreso kesa sa ngayon.

    ngayon yung mga musmos kasama ng hardened criminals; may gangs sa mga jails, mafia ang sistema ng pagpapatakbo, etc.

    nung time ni charles dickens kung may utang ka, ikukulong ka. di na ganun ang pananaw ng disenteng tao.

    feeling ko 99% of crimes could be settled by means of community service and engagement with the community. kaunti lang ang mga kriminal sa dapat talagang ibukod sa lipunan.

    sa mga naging taksil sa bayan, sa papamagitan ng pangungurakot, etc. ang pera ang nagiging susi sa pagbukas ng mga pintuan upang makamit ng mga ito ang kapangyarihan. eh, de una sa lahat, kunin ang salapi. pangalawa, ipagbawal ang pakikilahok sa pulitika upang hindi nila mabawi ang naconfiscate. kung wala kang salapi at poder de bali wala ka na, ikahihiya pa ng mga anak mo ang ginawa mo.

    kung ikukulong mo lang yung opisyal na yan, eh sa sistema ng jails natin baka mas masarap pa ang buhay niya sa preso.

  33. rego, kung unconditional pardon, we have no say (you and i) but it will harm gma and it will prove estrada is just a cowardly guy -sira sila pareho.

    but i agree, under no circumstances, an unconditional pardon.

  34. thanks jzstan, we tried our best, show started late due to technical glitches but i’m grateful abe guested and helped explain things.

  35. geo, abe’s writings show the limits of technological proposals and where the political class has a lot of catching up to do -and how even theoretically worthy schemes end up trashed because of incompetence all around.

    it should have begun with gov’t consulting with the tech people here at home, they’d have been the most effective lobbyists.

    then the tech people briefing the legislature.

    then the executive informing the legislature which can confirm that the executive knows what the technical people know.

    then everyone discussing it with the public by means of the media.

    and then full disclosure of the nitty gritty (within reason) so everyone’s reassured its above board and a worthy investment.

    then our relations with china or whoever would have been even more solid, no one loses face, the country’s excited about a groundbreaking project, and suspicions re” chinese involvement minimized, etc etc.

    but instead, it was all done in stealth and a stink had to be raised, which well, just reinforces the notion it was a bright idea milked for its bribery potential.

  36. geo, the up profs:

    http://www.aer.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=603&Itemid=63

    were not hired guns. it was a paper they did on their own. they categorically denied the palace-sourced text that implied they were paid by pldt.

    they had participated in an entirely different forum sponsored by pldt in the past, something enrile tried to imply was what had produced the paper, not so.

    these up profs. come up with independent white papers all the time, and this was one of them.

  37. yannow, the pork barrel system in japan is rocket science compared to the crude pork barrel politics we do here. so is the american pork barrel system.

  38. I cannot credit Abalos for resigning as Comelec Chairman. He resigned only because he faced certain impeachment which could have opened up a whole Pandora’s box of shenanigans involving GMA and her cohorts, under the full glare of TV coverage. Saving Comelec, by resigning, from being tarnished (what’s there to tarnish, anyway?) was just, if at all, an unintended consequence.

    After all, Abalos has better chances at the Tanodbayan with Merceditas Gutierrez as Ombudsman.

  39. Geo,

    “Step one is follow the rules. Let’s try doing that first…then let’s see what happens.”

    Us? Are you a bureaucrat? A politician perhaps? You have to qualify the “us” because the brazen violators of the law (rules) are not the ordinary man on the street.

    Government people and politicians are expected to set the example because they have been vested with both responsibility and power. In a democracy, their official actions are always predicated on service to and welfare of the people.

  40. mlq3, the above is a concise summary of what should have been done. i can only add that tech people are not in the position to evaluate the merits of the application (for which the system is being built) so prior to the first step that you mentioned, there should have been first a clear statement of the requirements.

    Geo, so you’re position is that we should NOT move on?

  41. Supremo,

    “They will probably revive the NBN project later and call it “Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Information Highway”.”

    Pusta ako ng 200 tama ka

  42. I fully agree with mlq3 and rego on the need to reform our penal system. If the objective of crime punishment is to reform or rehabilitate the offender, putting him in an overcrowded, filthy jail (which is typical in the Philippines) only dehumanizes him.

    I hope this is something that Congress and the Judiciary can work together on.

  43. “Actually, even if Abalos resigned he can still be impeached.”

    Really, MB? I didn’t know that. I always thought the purpose of impeachment is to remove an impeachable official from his position.

  44. What I recall is that Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello was impeached after Congress rejected his resignation letter.

  45. I wonder if it is just coincidence. I’ve been following this blog for a while but I have not read Karah before. Then just as the ZTE deal was about to become explosive and the counter-prop of the administration was in full swing, tadah! you have her here suddenly with blazing guns, so to speak. And now that the ZTE probe had gone pfft, she had gone pfft too. Is this just a coincidence or am I reading too much out of this coincidence? And is she not being too legalistic (she sounded exactly like Apostol in her arguments)? Last I heard, this is not the court of law, this space is the court of public opinion, ain’t it?

  46. Geo,

    …That’s what “advanced civilizations” do. Aren’t we one of them???

    Relative to western democracies, it’s more like we’re just emerging from the neolithic age.

  47. This is what I’ve been pointing out right from the start of the ZTE scandal. The project is noteworthy, but was hijacked by greedy interests. Unlike what the UP professors claimed, we do need this infrastructure, and contrary to popular belief, private telcos does not have the capability to support this infrastructure. Do you really believe they can support the entire govt’s needs when they can’t even support their own subscriber’s needs?

    Who here have problems with their internet connections? Has PLDT, SMART, Globe, Bayantel been able to deliver satisfactory service? (never mind excellent) So what makes us think giving them another problem to think abt will make things better? As someone has pointed out, haven’t anyone even thought that the reason why a hulabaloo was raised abt this deal was bec the private telcos doesn’t want their oligopoly being broken by another competitor?

    This has been a running complaint in my blog. I’ve raised these issues as well as the apparent inability of private telcos to support a government network. there are worser crimes being perpetrated by these telcos more than the wiretapping case. they’ve been selling our numbers to advertisers w/o our consent. they deduct loads in a dishonest manner (i can tell you i’m not a text addict. i can count the number of texts i sent, yet always my load would be gone before i can consume it fully) and anyone ever thought that the Hello Garci might be a blackmailing attempt by the telcos to get more concessions from the govt? these telcos already have too much power that its just right that the govt get out of its grip.

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