The latest news is C-4 bomb component used in Glorietta blast – PNP chemist and Glorietta death toll rises to 9. For its part, Makati blast a ‘terror act,’ military says: Leftists, rightists, extremists eyed.

After 24 hours of no groups coming forward to claim responsibility for the blast, ‘RSM spokesman’ owns up to Glorietta 2 blast although it’s far from being confirmed. What have come in, prior to this news, were denials: Abu Sayyaf denies hand in Makati bomb attack while MILF offers help in deadly blast probe.

All we know are slender clues to a whole that has yet to be literally pieced together: Investigators to scour Glorietta underground for blast clues.

The past is now. Perhaps it’s the part of me that constantly refers to the past, to make sense of the present, that draws me at this time, to the eyewitness accounts being published on line. The point when eyewitness bear witness to what they saw, where testimony makes the transition from an oral story to one written down, and thus, becomes a story that can enter history, is the point where journalism and history connect. Or perhaps it’s the need to keep yesterday’s events on a human scale, knowing it’s that scale that is the best antidote to whoever perpetrated the bombing.

So let us begin with the testimony.

Of Law and Badminton was there:

True enough, when we were on the third floor of Glorietta 2, we were able to find Toby’s. I told my friend to go there and make her purchase, while I would be browsing at the tiangge stores right outside. I was looking at the latest fashionable blouses, muttering to myself that I would never be able to pull them off. I still tried on one blouse, but to no avail. Hindi talaga bagay…shucks.

I received a text message from my friend at around 1:25 P.M., telling me that she was near Timezone waiting for me, but urging me to take my time. Immediately after I got her text, I tried to locate her. Not able to find her, I decided to call her up.

Just when the phone was ringing, I heard a very loud explosion nearby coupled with a very intense shake which felt like an Intensity 10 earthquake. I almost fell to the ground because of the impact! I felt like I was in twilight zone or something, as I watched debris falling everywhere and smoke billowing from behind. Suddenly, people were screaming and shouting and pushing me. I had no choice but to follow the crowd. I began to wonder whether my friend was safe and as I was about to call her up, I heard what seemed like another explosion. I froze for a second, terrified, not knowing where to go. At that very second, I felt terror grip my body, wondering if there were still several bombs about to go off, and wondering if we were running headlong into another bomb. I don’t know how my legs were able to function but before I knew it, I was walking straight into Landmark.

Thankfully, the guards removed the table and opened the doors wide in order to receive the big crowd emanating from Glorietta 2. As I stepped into what felt like safe ground, I received a call from my friend asking me where I was. I was relieved upon hearing her voice knowing that at least she was OK. I told her I was at Landmark and not to worry about me. I called up my husband to tell him what happened. Fortunately he was just nearby and that he would pick me up immediately. I couldn’t contact my friend anymore since the network (Globe) was already busy. Good thing there was no traffic in sending text messages. After texting her and knowing she was ok, and that her driver was about to pick her up, it was only at that moment that I suddenly felt relieved.

Cindy.cIndy.ciNdy.cinDy.cindY also relates,

Earlier that day we agreed to dine in Pizza Hut which was in the second floor of Glorietta 2. We proceeded to Pizza Hut and placed our orders. Moments later a loud bang was heard. I didn’t move thinking that it was nothing serious. I actually thought that it was some activity prepared by Glorietta. But the whole Glorietta trembled like there was an earthquake. The ceiling almost fell but luckily only small debris fell from the ceiling. My friend was pushing me to stand. Immediately I packed my things. We turned our heads and saw heavy white smoke outside the establishment. People were screaming and running away from the smoke. That was the time that I realized that it was an explosion and that it might not be the only one. We panicked! I grabbed my friend’s hand and we ran toward the escalators in the activity area. Pizza Hut was just about 20 meters away where the bombing happened. We were lucky that the direction of the bomb explosion was in the direction of Park Square and not toward the activity area. At the bottom of the escalator, some insulators of the mall can be found. Debris kept falling inside and the smoke was approaching the activity area. I told my friend to ran headed for SM. We ran and never looked back. People from SM didn’t know that there was a bombing incident at Glorietta. Later a group of women and security guards were screaming and running toward us. At that instant we ran to MRT station, bought tickets and finally got out of the place.

Welcome to my life! published her mother’s story:

On the way back to office, while on board the escalator, we heard a loud blast. I was stunned as I watched the ceiling of the floor below me collapse like domino tiles and orange plastic pipes started to fall too. I saw the sales girls from the collapsed stores running for their lives. I was thinking someone must have been killed down there. I was stunned and stood still on the moving escalator until my friend Milette hugged me and shouted, “RUN!”. It jolted me and made me realize that the floor in which we were in could also collapse. I grabbed her hand and ran as fast as I could to Landmark department store which is connected to the mall we came from. My heart was pounding. Our other friends got separated from us but we all made ourway safely back to office on foot.

flipflopping my way around town recounts that “there, but for the grace of God, go I,” feeling many people had:

Apparently, Mommy was also at Glorietta looking for the Baby Couture stall as she was supposed to buy a bag for her god daughter. Thank God for Mommy’s bad sense of direction, she somehow got lost and went the other way from where the stall was. (note: the Baby Couture is located at Glorietta 2 together with the other baby/kiddie shops at the 2nd floor). Then she heard a loud bang and felt the vibration. Thinking it must be an earthquake she entered Abensons and asked the salesman if she can stay there for safety. What scared her was when she saw a lot of people rushing out from the mall, some were hysterical, some were crying… then she heard some screaming “may bomba may bomba!” (there’s a bomb! there’s a bomb!).

There were those in the vicinity of the blast, as Bryanton Post relates:

Melissa, a friend whom I was supposed to meet last night, was eating in Via Mare in Landmark when the blast occurred. Had she decided to eat in Glorietta after a physical exam in one of the clinics there, she later told me, she would have been included among the casualties. The impact, she said, was so strong that it was even felt in Landmark. An earthquake, people around her kept saying. No, she said to herself. It felt more like the whole mall had just taken a roller coaster ride, she told me.

If that was even felt in Landmark, I can’t simply imagine the impact in Glorietta.

Another account is by O-C Mumzie, who was in a gym in the area:

Ten minutes behind schedule now, I focused on the remaining tasks on my to-do list. I hurried to the locker room to change, gather my things and check-out. And then it happened… the building rocked and the sound of exploding glass and screams rang out. Glorietta 2 had just been bombed. And then a second blast.

At that point, we didn’t know what it was. For some reason though, I feared the worse. My friend, Maricar, asked me what happened and I just said “I think it was a bomb”. I guess it was the screams that told me. We peered though the 3rd floor gym lobby and saw the security guard rolling down the steel partitions. Beyond, we could see thick clouds of smoke (we learned later was pulverized cement) billowing from inside the mall and the screams of terror became more audible. I heard the receptionist say the blast came from nearby Timezone. My God! The children! With that thought, I knew I had to focus and look after my own safety. It was a mother’s instinct in me that suddenly took control of my every move– I needed to be safe for my own children.

Immediately I helped Maricar take control. After gathering my things, I helped her clean out her locker and carried one of her bags. I told her we should exit though the ground floor of the gym that would lead us directly outside the mall and into an open park. In seconds, we were out and joined the hundreds already gathered in the safety of open ground. I called my husband, my kids, my sisters and friends who mattered to me most just to let them know I’m okay. My car was stranded ar the car park with my driver so my husband sent his driver to pick me up at the packed Starbucks at 6750.

But here’s a curious thing, which to me, will gain significance as the various eyewitness accounts are cross-checked and the specific circumstances begin to emerge. Take this account by As the world turns, who was there in Glorietta 2 at the time of the blast:

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how I failed to feel the earthquake-like blast, as described by those interviewed in TV newscasts, in Glorietta 2 yesterday, when the rest of the people beside who were also there, watching from the second floor, not very far from the scene of the blast, those at the activity center below, running, scampering towards the exit doors. We were looking at each other wondering what was going on! We weren’t panicky, we were simply bewildered. What I heard were the ear-splitting squeaks of shutters and doors of shops and stores being shot and hurled down in hurried succession.

I took the escalator studiedly. I stayed and waited for a while at the ground floor where some mall security people were gathered trying to piece the information they got from their receivers, for news because I was curious. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to know if there was a fire because smoke filled the area. I asked a security guard what was that all about. He simply replied, “Ma’am, I do not have an official word yet, you are safe, please stay calm and walk towards the exit door carefully.” When I got out of the exit door facing the Shangri-la Hotel, all the people were politely and courteously requested by the security guards to cross towards the tent because they were sealing the perimeters off in and around Glorietta.

The smoke wafting out of the door smelled of gunpowder or firecrackers, I distinctly remember. I couldn’t leave the tent because it rained. Besides, the immediate surroundings were filled with cars – firetrucks, ambulance, private cars, police cars, news companies’, etc. The paths towards Landmark were completely sealed off.

gimmepeanutbutter wasn’t as close to the scene:

Kuya Tim and I arrived at the venue earlier than my calltime so we had to wait for a while. After around 30 minutes of staring into space, I suddenly heard something that sounded like thunder. I didn’t mind it at first–until people started running out of Glorietta. At this point I kinda got scared. I got even more nervous when the prod team started asking us if we were ready to run. Fortunately, we didn’t have to.

Meet Joebacs recounts,

Immediately after most of the food we ordered were already on our table, tragedy struck a few meters away. We didn’t actually hear anything. The glass window of the restaurant didn’t shake, no abnormal audible sound caught our ear. We only learned that something was amiss when throngs of people, literally, poured out onto the streets.

A lot of stories swirled, different accounts of what happened. The alleged location of the blast were quite varied. We thought the ceiling in one of the stores just caved in. We only learned about the seriousness of what transpired when we saw a teenager still in schock with a gash on her feet…

Some, like Yugatech, were spared the worst of it but were left bewildered like the Mall employees they encountered:

Since my car was parked at the underground of 6750, most of my encounters where with Glorietta employees still busy doing their jobs despite the rush and ensuing panic.

I asked the lady at the parking gate why they haven’t been let go for the day considering the imminent danger. She was wondering of the same thing too.

When I got out on the street, it was packed with people - shoppers, employees, policemen, traffic enforcers and tons of vehicles trying to drive away from the scene. So was I.

Lost In My Headspace provides not only an account of what it was like in Glorietta, but among the most famous amateur videos of the event, too. This haunting photo by noelldeg says it all, for the survivors. My Mobile Blog — blogging minus the PC has photos of some of the casualties. See the Glorietta Blast mutlimedia photo, too.

Behind the Stories relates what it’s like for reporters to be alerted of a breaking story and then rushing to cover it:

I was about to eat my lunch when the day desk editor called, and was panicking when he told me that an explosion happened at Glorietta. And much as I wanted to panic too, I merely stayed calm. I immediately got out of the Crame press office, left my just-to-be-eaten yummy lunch and took the MRT.

Fifteen minutes later I was at the scene, and as usual engaged myself in a brief word war with security guards. Hohohoho hahaha while I tried to get to the other side of Glorietta, with all luck..my heels broke. So I went back to SM and bought a pair of cheap flipflops to get me through.

Finally arriving at the scene moments later, I saw how the Glorietta 2 entrance was reduced in rubble, and all those shattered glasses, and the cadavers yet to be brought to the morgue. Sure, this one was a very memorable coverage for me. It was I witnessing yet another part of history unfold.

But it was really devastating. I held back tears. I knew I had to work. I knew I had to do away with emotions. I knew I had to accept that this world is cruel.

A tragedy also results in questions being asked. And tough questions need to be asked. Not later, but now. To postpone them out of a misplaced sense of compassion for the victims will do more harm than good in the long run.The security measures of the Ayala Malls (and malls in general) comes in for criticism by The Banker’s Council:

Ah, those large doorway-detectors. Those that beep incessantly when we the general public pass through them. And what do the guards do when the big gray machine sounds out that it has detected a metallic object? NOTHING.

I have passed by that area many times. Sometimes I bring my backpack and laptop. Other times I just have my Pacsafe wallet around my neck. And everytime, the machine sounds its alarm. And everytime, the guards do not ask me (or anyone else) to “please empty your pockets and go through the machine again.”

And to think that they have a secondary security-cum-detection device – the handheld metal detector, such as this.

So what are those machines for in the first place?

Come to think of it, if the damage was caused by an exploding LPG tank, wouldn’t a fire break out?

Come to think of it (again), if the damage was caused by an exploding LPG tank, I’d probably agree that there was no security lapse and that the incident, unfortunate as it was, could have been an accident, though magnified many many times.

Anyway, back to the security situation.

The other news reports say that the blast site had traces of components used in the making of plastic explosives such as the military-use C4. So I guess the metal detectors would have been of no help.

Are the security guards, metal detectors and other high-tech gadgets enough of a deterrent to those who would intentionally cause havoc in such a place filled with civilians?

Similar thoughts are in Prudence and Madness and in A Day in the Life.. In IndioSign, there’s an observation about the limitations of modern buildings. In her blog, Stella Arnaldo who also has no love lost for Ayala Malls security, points to security shortcomings but also discusses something that no one can ignore:

Even before Sen. Trillanes pointed his fingers at the Presidentita GMA and her henchmen being behind the Glorietta blasts, the man on the street and your friendly neighborhood cab drivers were already thinking the same. I spoke to a few later in the evening. Pinoys aren’t stupid although our politicians make us out to be. (If this was the handiwork of terrorists, by yesterday evening, they would have claimed responsibility for the blast already because they are a proud bunch.)

Of course you can say it’s just another conspiracy theory but really, the public, especially the masa have come to distrust the Presidentita and her people. We can’t put anything past her. Almost everyone believes she is capable of doing anything just to perpetuate herself in power and refocus the public’s attention away from her government’s latest foibles. As usual, the Presidentita’s text brigade (Hello NTC: Check out 0905-346-8994) is actively trying to spin the bombings against her critics especially politicians in the opposition. While she tells them to stop politicking and taking advantage of the incident, her handlers are doing it for her. Amateurs talaga!

Mind you, these thoughts have entered the minds of people normally not inclined to have a say, either way, when it comes to politics. zalveen-ice’s Site, I think, is an example of a skeptical public. See, also, A Pinoy Investment Banker’s Homepage (I take it that the blogger is representative of the core constituency of the administration, the upper and professional classes):

Do you know what our consensus was as we speculated on the incident? It was probably the handiwork of people loyal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) to divert media attention away from her in the light of a series of scandals which had rocked her administration. Since our initial feedback was that it was simply a LPG explosion, we even thought that whoever planned the thing was hare-brained and stupid to begin with. (Of course, we know now that it was not exploding LPG tanks which caused the damage but more like C-4). We have become cynical of GMA to have thought this way, rightly or wrongly. She really has a serious credibility problem with her constituency.

See The Warrior Lawyer and The Four-eyed Journal and Tongue in, Anew and Do my stories piss you off? as well as Random Thoughts.

From New Philippine Revolution comes an effort to whittle down the (large) list of suspects, and his list has the American CIA and a rogue group from the AFP at the top. On the other hand, Philippine Commentary is firmly convinced that the prime suspect remains Muslim groups. As he puts it,

I for one cannot even imagine the possibility of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordering such a thing, much less some rogue supporters who would act without her knowledge. She may be corrupt as events have proven, and craven enough to try to hold onto power by almost any means. But I just don’t believe she, or any of her people would be ruthless enough to do this. If anything she would rather run away than fight, as shown in the Angelo dela Cruz incident in Iraq, and in her pusillanimous handling of the Mindanao situation, both of which were actually determined by the civil society uproar against showing any kind of spine against the terrorists.

Still, you would expect people to instinctively rally around the flag. I see very little of that taking place.

But with the need to experience what other people went through, comes another pressing human need -to understand and make sense of a tragedy. Akomismo puts the blast in the context of previous terrorist attacks. So does Touched by an Angel. People will grasp at anything to try to find a pattern.

Take a look at pine for pine analyzing the list of casualties. Take this text message quoted by rockersworld.com:

13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Eric Morales, naganap ang WoWowee Stampede.
13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Larios, Mayon Volcano erupted, many died in mudflow.
13 days after Pacquiao’s victory against Barrera, Glorietta explosion..

We are all part of a process of national grieving, which echoes the manner in which individuals come to terms with a loved one’s demise.

Mon Casiple’s analysis is the most chilling. Remember, this is a person not given to off-the-cuff statements or for letting his emotions veto his circumspection. He goes through the list of potential suspects and the implications if any specific group is proven to be behind the blast:

The Glorietta bombing basically creates an atmosphere of unease, tension, and fear among the populace. If there are others that followed, it may create panic or cause cumulative harm on the body politic. Such a situation puts pressure on a target political opponent and/or derails its normal activities. It may precede a decisive extra-constitutional move.

A convenient culprit remains the Abu Sayyaf or some other Moro rebel group. This is possible but military offensives against them have led to disarrays in their organization and capabilities. Small bombings in the South can be expected of these groups but a massive bombing in Metro Manila–such as the one in Glorietta–raises questions.

Two other groups have the capability for such an obviously carefully-planned bombing. One is the rebel group in the military. The other is the military itself.

Their engaging in the Glorietta bombing would mean a political connection or an incursion into the political arena by the rebel military. Assuming a political motive, the bombing would represent a demonstration of political strength–and nothing else. It flies against the logic of the present stage of the political crisis where the pressure is on the president and not on the opposition. Such a move can only weaken the political momentum of the opposition. The only logical reason–not necessarily tenable politically–is to prepare for a much more decisive strike at the center of power.

Involvement of military elements in the chain of command in the Glorietta bombing would mean that a section of the military has taken sides in the political conflict on the side of the president. The logic is to create a reason for an imposition of martial or some form of national emergency. There is a precedent in the past–that of the series of bombings Marcos did to justify martial rule in 1972.

The Glorietta bombing will not immediately produce any clear indication as to the motive(s) of the perpetrator. Succeeding incidents will create the patterns that make clear a decisive political–albeit extra-constitutional–strategy. Whatever happens, we have entered the final stretch of the political crisis.

An appeal for collective action comes from Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas!:

There are many ways where we can take a collective action to show our unity in expressing our disgust over the bombing. We can make a call on every Filipino homes to display a Philippine flag. Or we can all wear a black shirt on a particular day. Or we can ask the church to toll the bells, honk our cars, hit the pan, make a noise on a particular time. Or we can all just go to Glorietta, no speaches, no banners, no placards, just a show of numbers. Or we can spread the slogan, Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas (too self serving), to express our sentiment on our love for our country. The point is, we have experienced a collective wound. To bring about a positive outcome from this incident, we, the citizens minus the politicians, have to make a collective action.

I only disagree insofar as anyone would think it’s possible to move one way, without the politicians. Even saints had assholes. But Welcome to my World, a Filipino overseas, says it well:

This incident reminds me of the time when the good people of London also became victims of terrorist bombings. Instead of calling for arms and declaring war, then Prime Minister Tony Blair actually called out for all British citizens to remain vigilant and not to cower to the cowardice acts of these misleaded uneducated individuals. To not sink to their level. To not change one’s way of life, for if we succumb to these senseless barbaric acts then they have truly won. For their goal is not to simply kill a huge number of our countrymen, but to create fear to change our way of life. To terrorize a society is to instill fear, regardless of the means, may it be through the taking of lives or through a simple perceived threat.

Again, to my mind, we would do better focusing on the physical and emotional scars of a national trauma barely 24 hours old; and formulating, in our minds, the questions that must be answered, frankly and completely, for we, the people, to be satisfied that the explanations we are getting are genuine.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

453 thoughts on “Testimony

  1. Shaman, Manolo’s minesweeper is at work but trying again – nig-nog is “bougnole” in French or if you want “petit couillon” (pronounced phonetically ‘bunyol’ and ‘peti kuyon’ respectively)… heh.

  2. Bencard, I’m always fine – thanks, particularly when it’s sunny and cold! Temperature here has gone wildly low but it’s so fabulously sunny so don’t mind 10 or 12°C.

  3. Can somebody tell me why there is proliferation of ex-generals in GMA cabinet(4 out of 24 cabinet members):

    Executive Secretary:former General Ermita

    Department of Public Works and Highways: former General Ebdane

    Department of Transporation & Comunications: former General Mendoza

    Deaprtment of Energy:former General Reyes

  4. Shamman, I think Manolo’s minesweeper doesn’t like French words but here it is again (trying for the third time to post translation for you.)

    “Shaman, Manolo’s minesweeper is at work but trying again – nig-nog is “bougnole” in French or if you want “petit couillon” (pronounced phonetically ‘bunyol’ and ‘peti kuyon’ respectively)… heh.”

  5. Bencard, I’m always fine – thanks, particularly when it’s sunny and cold! Temperature here has gone wildly low but it’s so fabulously sunny so don’t mind 10 or 12°C.

    (Shaman I’m going to clip my translation along with my reply to Bencard coz for the 4th time, Manolo’s minesweeper is blocking the French translation you asked so here’s another fly half try: nig-nog is ‘bougnole’ in French or if you want ‘petit couillon’ (pronounced phonetically ‘bunyol’ and ‘peti kuyon’ respectively) heheh!

  6. nig-nog is ‘bougnole’ or if you want ‘petit couillon’ (pronounced phonetically ‘bunyol’ and ‘peti kuyon’ respectively – 6th fly half try here Shaman, just couldn’t get past Manolo’s minesweeper!

  7. Hello, hello, Shaman testing, testing, — nig-nog is bougnole or if you want petit couillon (pronounced phonetically ‘bunyol’ and ‘peti kuyon’ respectively – 7th fly half try here Shaman, just couldn’t get past awaiting moderation minesweep.

  8. Ah! I see the minesweeper is allergic to foreign words – hahahahahahah! OK so will try to be a bit more clever than Manolo’s minesweeper and see whether NIG NOG’s translation can pass: B O U G N O L E (pronounce bunyol) or P E T I T C O U I L L O N (pronounced peti kuyon but bit nasal.)

  9. Qwert,

    “I wonder what portfolio will be given to General Esperon.”

    Maybe an ambassadorial post, away from the madding military in Manila, lest he gets wounded in action there?

    But Esperon swears he is and will always be the guardian angel of Gloria and if he sticks to his ‘word’ then he might prefer a position in Malacanang. By the way, there is a you tube video hommage to the greatness of Esperon — no kidding! If you haven’t seen it, here it is:


  10. Ana: almost all “pozo negro” services have the malabanan name prefixed by the nickname of the famly member.they even have a family crest(guess what?).

    It’s like Lapids for chicharon,Tamesis for eye care,etc.

    And Pidals for…

  11. Equalizer, I’ll tell you why. This Administration is being held aloft with bayonets.

  12. MBW,
    An ambassadorial post is not worth the loyalty Esperon has given GMA, higher,higher…

    The Department of Excavator has already been given to Heherson Alvarez, didn’t you know?

  13. cvj

    I agree with your analysis 100% this time. Except…how do we actually convince these people to take their hands out of the cookie jar????? 😉

  14. Equalizer,

    Re proliferation of generals (you’re forgetting the foreign postings pa like Gazmin, Wong, de Leon, Abu, etc): Actually there are more than 4 if you consider Presidential Advisers on Terrorism (Benjie Defensor), or Cimatu on OFW affairs, Senga is somewhere too plus a handful of Undersecretaries in various cabinets postings, DOTC and DND, etc. Even ex-CSAFP Boy Abadia is somewhere in her cabinet.

    I don’t mind seeing generals in positions of responsibility in government. My reason is that most military officers who get to that level possess the education, the know-how, the organizational savvy, the analytical mind and the discipline to tackle the most difficult jobs in civilian posts.

    In other words, they can do the task but what is suspect here is following the Hello Garci scandal, we witnessed an incredible proliferation of generals at all levels not to speak of having about 2 or 3 Chiefs of Staff in one year… for instance Benjie Defensor was chief of staff for less than 3 months! Then followed by a few others whose stint as CSAFP is really useless because of the incredibly short period of time spent on the post.

    Nag hello pa lang sila sa various commands, good bye na kaagad. Ano yan, beauty contest?

  15. ANA

    Oui! It has become a brand name.

    Like Esperon for :

    1)Extrajudicial affairs
    2)Foot n mouth disease
    3)Election Involvement process

  16. Equalizer,

    I forgot — Espinoza, Gloria’s favourite general for example, who threatened to march and engage PSG in battle in Malacanan if Erap didn’t resign, was immediately posted to cash rich post in Taiwan with rank of ambassador. (Espinoza even bragged to his classmates that he who had never owned a check book now possessed several bank accounts.)

  17. A bit out of topic:
    Got this Chikka text message today: [Patty] 10/22/07 10:10:56 PM let’s all go to MALACANANG with an empty paper bag to experience the latest MIRACLE..0ut of nowhere, your bag will be miraculously filled with CASH! Alelujiah!!

  18. PTBT, you mean the politicians? A few days back, i proposed to Ramrod that we should cut them off from the cash (and credit card) economy. Give the politicians a huge salary adjustment (to attract good talent) but every time they engage in a personal transaction, they should use a voucher (or electronic voucher). If you’re familiar with the ‘NETS’ system (used by the public) here in Singapore, that’s sort of the thing i have in mind for our politicos and their families.

    In this way, the politician can validly tell his constituents that he has nothing to give them because he does not have the cash. With the above in place, i also suggested elsewhere that any ‘treat’ (whether lunch, dinner or golf) in which the politician receives something that he does not pay for (using his electronic voucher) would be considered a bribe.

    Prior to entering politics, anyone who owns a business (and his/her family) should divest and put this in a blind trust (subject to audit) which cannot be retrieved until five years after the politician leaves public service.

    The technology for the above is already available, it’s just a matter of arriving at a consensus to implement these measures.

  19. MBW,
    How can you forget the Admirable(Admiral) Tirso Danga ( ISAFP chief during the Hello Garci controversy) This one was so funny, it made Sen. Biazon scratch his head. When Danga retired , Sen. Biazon was so happy, because finally, he will not be covered by E.O. 464, so Danga was subpoenaed by the Senate Defense Committee. The day (2 days I think) before his senate appearance, he was appointed special assistant to the National Security Adviser … tapos ang boksing(E.O. 464 na naman), napailng na lang ng ulo si Biazon.

  20. Another question about Gloria’s cabinet members.What do these two cabinet members (DEPEd Jesli Lapuz and DND Gilbert Teodoro) have in common?

    1)both from tarlac
    2)ex congressmen

  21. MBW In addition to the family crest,they have a business slogan “in dirt there is money”.

    What do you think is the slogan of the Pidals?

  22. Qwert, oo nga pala si Danga — he’s sick di ba? Wonder what pushed Danga to accept when he cannot do anything anyway if he’s very ill.

    Di ang dami na nilang undersec or asst sec diyan sa NSA? Si Lt Gen Vic Mayo (whose wife is an Assumption friend of Gloria) is still there too but was also very ill last time I heard. Ano yang NSA, tapunan ng may mga sakit na generals?

  23. cvj,
    If I may add, let the three branches of government stick to their role. Congress should strictly confine itself to lawmaking, no more projects(pork barrel), let the executive branch handle it. Then divide the congressional districts into 6 or 10( can be more) districts (districts within a district).During elections, there will be ten congressmen per district but only one will be represented in the National Congress.The national representative of that district will be the “primus interpares” to be chosen by the nine. Any district representation vote in the national level must be concurred upon by the majority within that district. With this setup, a congressional candidate will not spend so much during election because he will be campaigning in a relatively small area. The congressman will not be that powerful because of a smaller constituency.

    If you have additional inputs it is most welcomed, lets develop it further, if its not feasible then just forget about it.

  24. shaman, if it was my personal knowledge, i would be a witness. then i could not be the lawyer without compromising my ethical standard and obligations. i think being an advocate and a witness on the same case is incompatible. i think even a judge cannot be a witness without recusing himself.

    there you go, your bill is getting long (lol). marhay man na aga sa imo. dios mabalos.

  25. cvj,ramrod,
    In addition, with this setup the Speaker will not be that powerful, he will just basically take care of the salaries of the congressmen, wala ng palakasan.

    It will be very hard to bribe a congressman, because the vote will depend on the majority vote of the said district in any issue including the impeachment.

    Since there will be no more projects, any cash given to a congressman or district for that matter will always be construed as a bribe.

  26. “What do you think is the slogan of the Pidals?”

    Let me try: “Dirty money is beautiful”?

  27. MBW, Danga accepted the government post just so he doesn’t have to appear before Senate investigations. EO 464.

  28. qwert, i agree completely that the 3 branches should stick to their respective roles. i’m puzzled why legislators have their own funds for their own projects and why the disbursement is controlled by the Executive. it’s designed to eliminate any independence between the brances.

    I like your idea of a representative selected among representatives within a district. These ten (or some other optimal number) could very well be the municipal councilors of today with one of them chosen to represent the district at the national level. I also like the idea of local consultation among the councilors before voting on an issue since it keeps them more grounded to the sentiments of their district. What we need to arrive at is whether ten is the optimal number. This article on the optimal number of representatives is interesting – http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/601

    It says that:

    In a nutshell, a parliament with too few representatives is not “democratic” enough, possibly leading to an unstable political system, in which various undesirable forms of political expression, including of course violent ones, will develop. In contrast, too many representatives entail substantial direct and indirect social costs, they tend to vote too many acts, interfere too much with the operation of markets, increase red tape and create many opportunities for influence, rent-seeking activities and corruption.

    Unfortunately, the paper itself, which provides their formula is not free.

    Regarding further inputs, Manolo has a number in his previous posts. Also, sometime back, the blogger ‘Hundredyearshence’ (blogspot) also came up with his own series of posts about ‘Design for Democracy’. I disagree with his proposal but i think you may find it interesting.

    There is also this article on how to harness the wisdom of crowds via deliberative polling:


  29. cvj, all those ideas for reforms are nice. problem is, none of the sitting politicians today would endorse any of that as it’s counter-productive to their greed.

    so how can we institute it?

    revolution and civil war are the only answers.

    little by little, my prediction of 3 years before “bastille” erupts is getting more and more plausible, doesn’t it?

  30. Dean’s theory is based on the use of gas in the US for heating purposes, as it is piped into the houses or buildings. What type of gas is this? Is this highly volatile and flammable in its natural form? The element in the incident is diesel, this has to be heated first before it burns.

    Dean must be talking about Natural Gas which is much lighter than LPG and highly flammable. If if is leaking and accumulated inside a confined area and ignited by either electrical charge or spark or fire, then it has the potential of a bomb explosion and fireballs.

    It is used for water heating and furnace fuel heating for winter and also for automotive. It is pipe into houses and building like water and if it leaks without being detected, just imagine your bathroom pipes leaking.. It is mixed with Rotten Eggs odor for easy detection.

    But the worst and lethal by product of natural gas is carbon monoxide poisoning if not completely burnt and ventilated, just like monoxide poisoning from car exhaust inside a confined area…

  31. deVil, by re-educating the politicians maybe? and along the whole collective consiousness of the masses that altogether we are responsible for where we are at the moment. but this easier said than done.

    maybe your “bastille” is plausible, but not in a 3 years time. the people are not ready yet. I meant there are no leaders to rally around, no directions, not even some idea where the revolutions and civil war might led to.
    but if the situation and conditions stay as they are, in due time may rise the revolutionary fervours among the oppressed like the Les Mis……

  32. Devils, you may be right, i’m not discounting that possibility, but preventing it is in our interest (at least mine). I don’t want it to be 1983 all over again.

  33. vic, re-educating the politicians? that made me laugh. these politicians don’t need any re-education. they perfectly, and know fully well that what they’re doing is wrong. it’s the development of they’re conscience that went awry. we studied this in philosophy. a flawed conscience is beyond “re-education.”

    and my 3 yrs prediction does not mean “bastille” will erupt exactly 3 yrs from now. it will merely be the beginning of the end for the Arroyo admin. it will be up to the people when they will feel enough is enough.

    cvj, i think that waiting for it to ripen is in our interest. we should not manufacture it, we should not hasten it, we should not even campaign for it. a genuine revolution will spark real change. history has proven that.

  34. Devils,

    Re: “and my 3 yrs prediction does not mean “bastille” will erupt exactly 3 yrs from now. it will merely be the beginning of the end for the Arroyo admin. it will be up to the people when they will feel enough is enough.”

    But by that time, 2010, Arroyo will be on her way out anyway so Bastille might not even happen. Frankly, I doubt it will ever happen (not in the French Revolution fashion.)

  35. MBW, by 2010, GMA will NOT be on her way out. she will be on her way IN for good. charter change will happen, and JDV will be ousted – one way or another. by 2010, GMA will be firmly in power. all these so-called opposition will by then be co-opted or like Trillanes, made irrelevant.

    economic numbers would keep on surging, making those who play in stocks happy. but nobody else. as long as MBC and PCOC is kept happy, GMA will be in power. the Aquinos will be tolerated with their Luisita Hacienda, and pretty much everyone else like them. GMA would do well not to anger hacienderos like them.

    for a while, Filipinos would bear with this bcoz there’s always the allure to go overseas, as demand for medical professionals, teachers, seamen, and other skilled laborers would hardly go down. why bother complaining when you can just leave the country to ruins?

    the crack would start when the country is finally drained of skilled workers. educational quality not improving, demand for such laborers would slowly decrease. quality of life here further deteriorating, OFW families will have no recourse but to emigrate along with everyone from their family they can take with them. this in effect, would mean decreasing dollar inflows, until finally, this economic prop would collapse and finally expose the economic lie this govt has been resting on.

    meanwhile, govt would be so degraded that law and order can hardly be kept anymore. somewhere along this line, martial law will have to be declared once criminality is so rampant even gated communities are not spared. demand for private bodyguards among the rich would increase. everyone who has some money or property to protect had better arm themselves.

    the country would ignite once the barren Philippines I envision finally happens. this is when all who has the capability to leave has left, and basically what used to be the middle class is now classes D and E. this intellectual desert would be symptomatic of an abundance of messianic characters and groups professing deliverance thru God. except God would not be talked about. only the devil in politic’s robes.

    Bastille in the French revolution fashion? oh i think it’ll be much worse if their leaders would be as intellectually bereft as them.

  36. Devils, that is a scary scenario. And the really disturbing part is that, at the rate things are going, it’s actually a very plausible scenario. I know you’re advocating some sort of civil war (i may be wrong, haven’t read all your comments), but can there be a better way out of this crisis? A better (and more peaceful) way of moving forward?

  37. ay_naku, am not fully advocating civil war. in fact am just saying such an event will benefit us. revolution i support more – but only a revolution led by intellectuals (if intellectual revolution of the masses is not possible). in my view, civil war always follow successful revolutions. it’s a fight bet differing factions within the revolutionaries who gets to control what’s left of the nation.

    you’re asking of a better way? of course there’s always a better way. but o politician up to now have shown the will to go that way.

    all it takes is to institute genuine reforms. not band-aid solutions. my anger at Gloria is that she definitely has political will – only that she’s using it agst her people, and furthering her own ends. she’d almost destroyed all our institutions, even the judiciary is in danger of collapsing. today, she battles the SC with her own EOs and AOs, making SC orders completely superflous or inutile. the writ of amparo being one example. made inutile with AO 197. the judiciary is always playing catch-up, employing knee-jerk reactions. if the SC wants to curb this increasingly authoritative admin, it has to beat the admin to the punch. make GMA’s admin react and not the other way around.

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