Belinda in Space

Monday’s Mass at Baclaran (where the Comelec encoders had sought refuge after walking out of the canvassing of votes in the PICC) pictures, where people from all walks of life came together to recall Edsa I:


Approach to the Church; banner at the front of the Church


Church begins to fill up; reminder behind pulpit, placed by Redemptorists


Amb. Howard Dee and friends; media takes up its stations


Church fills up; preliminary security sweep


overflow crowd; FPJ’s daughter


FPJ’s daughter; Boy Blue arrives


Cory and Lozada arrive


Mass begins; processional


Processional; clergy before the Altar


Gospel; Cory lights Truth Candle


Cory; Offertory led by lead convenors of BnW and leaders of Ang Kapatiran


Two gentlemen in white T-Shirts are the Ang Kapatiran leaders; after mass, “Bayan Ko”


“Bayan Ko”


“Bayan Ko”


“Bayan Ko”


“Bayan Ko”


Cory’s remarks


After Cory, Jun Lozada’s remarks


Jun Lozada

I recently read an article (in a book) by a foreign correspondent who observed that one of the President’s problems is that she engages in fights she cannot win (e.g. after Estrada’s macho posturing, she tried to be “Ina ng Bayan”). I was reminded of this by a couple of things in Jove Francisco’s latest blog entry. First, there’s the scene of the Loyalty Rally organized by the President’s sons in the Liwasang Bonifacio yesterday :

And let us not forget that her allies conducted their own noisy (festive) rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio. She wasn’t there, but her allies from the lower chamber were seen having lunch (or were assembling themselves) at the Macapagal Blvd restaurant of her son, Rep. Mikee Arroyo (reportedly his)… before going to the Liwasan. And as if that’s not enough, the 100 or so congressmen even trooped to Malacanang shortly before seven in the evening for some chit chat with PGMA. While there, some congressmen, led by House speaker Propsero Nograles continued to lambaste the president’s enemies, like JDV (he called on PGAM to resign), Senate president Manuel Villar (the impeachment quote) and yes, even Erap (for being Erap).

Yup, the president just wanted herself shielded from politics on this people power holiday. But as we’ve seen, she actually surrounded herself with politics today.

(Inicidentally, Pressure Points wasn’t amused by Dato Arroyo’s quoted remarks) And then, here’s Jove’s account of how the President tried to summon up one of the last remaining viable counter-arguments of her administration: that, somehow, Filipinos outside of Metro Manila have different values and that she continues to represent them. So the President, yesterday, went to Cavite. Was it a spontaneous or pre-prepared visit? Jove recounts,

Based on the number of passenger jeepneys (I saw more than 20) and buses (about a handful) that occupied a vast lot beside the provincial capitol of Cavite…one can say that the Cavitenos really “came in droves to pour out their support to PGMA”

The sight of those vehicles parked in that lot was in a word: overwhelming. It was like seeing a vast field where a flock of tamaraws rest. Rolling steel moving around, causing the dust to envelope the area. Pero sige lang ang lakad ng mga tao na naka color coded attire at may dalang lobo sa isang kamay nila. From afar they seem quite happy and excited about being there.

My team waited for the folks who rode the said vehicles near the entrance of the event area. PGMA has yet to arrive so may time kami mag-“man on the street” interview. Pasalubong ang direction namin, eager to talk to some of them.

Turns out… some of the people who trooped to the event were clueless about why they were asked to be there, in the first place.
You have to watch the clip to listen to some of them.

After about talking to a handful of people, and getting the same answer (Hindi kami andito para kay Gloria, Hindi ko alam na para sa kaniya ito, Di ko alam bakit kami pinapunta dito etc etc) I told my crew (Armand and Luther) “Pano ba ito? Bakit wala tayong makuha na supportive sa admin, baka masabihan tayo na hindi fair.” So we tried interviewing some more, but we got the same soundbytes. (Hence, during the final edit, I asked my VTR editor to include the pro PGMA banners, placards plus the shouting of real fans of PGMA (they were seated in front) in my report. Para fair.
Cavite leaders admit… they were the ones who mobilized their kababayans so they’ll attend the rally and so that they can show Mrs Arroyo that the feelings in Metro Manila doesn’t necessarily reflect the sentiments of those in the provinces.

PGMA arrived via chopper. Then she motored to the provincial capitol.

Some residents may not be aware that the event is for PGMA…but as soon as the guest of honor arrived, they still gave her welcome fit for a VIP.
Strangely… the palace disclosed that the president will just GATE CRASH the event. In fairness, she didn’t have a teleprompter with her on stage and we saw her organize her thoughts/speech kodigos in between listening to the ‘small talk” of her seatmates on stage and listening to the seemingly endless profession of support by “almost everyone who mattered in Cavite”. (They were under a tent, the people were not, the reporters were not. It was one warm day, napakataas pa ng araw. Nagdusa kami lahat.)

But at the start of her supposedly “impromptu” speech, the president had a slip of the tongue. Nasabi niya na INIMBITAHAN siya ni Governor Maliksi, pero ooops, di pala siya invited, wala silang kinalaman sa rally na iyon, nag gate crash lang daw sya. Okay then.

When life gives you flags that can’t be raised and potentially lethal clumps of confetti, as well as today’s Inquirer editorial, At least you have that noble prelate, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who will surely come in handy in that episcopal gabfest today. And there’s the return of the President’s husband to be thankful for, well, hey, hey, the gang’s.. and there’s always Bel Cunanan.

So Bel Cunanan presents the party line, as is well her right and indeed, her duty at a time like this. But something was in the Cool-Aid when she wrote,

Some schools are also reported to be planning to join Friday’s rally and will bus their students rain or shine. This has drawn protests from many parents who don’t want their children to be used and involved in the politics of hatred. So concerned have some parents become that they have set up two blog spots where other parents can air their sentiments: and Anonymous bloggers are welcome.

Anonymous bloggers, huh? Commenters, I guess she means…

To be sure there are parents who feel worried, but really, can someone say someone was so concerned they set up a blogspot to air sentiments, when one of the blogs was set up in 2005, has entries for only two months, entirely about Constitutional issues. See Pilipinas: Pinoy, Buhay at Pulitika. Here’s a screenshot, as of 1:12 AM February 26, 2008:


I mean, is it just me, or isn’t “So concerned have some parents become that they have set up two blog spots” supposed to mean they’re fresh, spankin’ new blogs, for a cause? Seems like a relict of the “Our Name is Legion for We Are Many” Days.

he other blog, It’s All Politics…. (u know…) however, fits the bill, having been set up this month. It’s a great read. With such kid-friendly gems as this entry for February 23:

The continued manipulation of public opinion is so outrageous to the point of hideousness. One of these days, history will catch up with all of you, heroes and traitors alike.

Then we’ll bury you all deep in goat shit.

Continuing on that (goat) theme, there’s the entry for February 24:

Overpriced goats, reckless dispersal of public lands to relatives and friends, kickbacks from previous government projects he had been involved with, and more… all these have slowly eroded Lozada’s credibility. But the most damning thing he ever did was to dance to the tune of his new marching band(his patrons)…and go around schools convincing kids (as young as pre-schoolers) to support an uprising against the government. Such blatant manipulation reeks of goat-shit. Unable to convince the masses to join them in renewed bid to grab political power, the political opposition (a friend calls them the disgruntled opposition) are trying to mobilize the youth by USING the religious sector and the media and just about everybody else who dares falls into the trap of their Jun Lozada script.

I agree that it is the duty of every citizen to be concerned with the affairs of government but we must NEVER fall into the trap set by politicians who have shown no qualms of using public opinion in the furtherance their selfish ends. The danger of Jun Lozada is not in the exposure of seemingly unbridled corruption in government: It is in manipulating the political power of the people and abusing popular will in order to serve self-serving interests.

Enlisting kids to join in subverting authority is one example.

This we cannot allow.

Leave it to the alumni, I guess? Those less interested in goat-poop can, instrad, go on explaining ,as Filomeno Sta. Ana III does, what The Fight for our Children’s Future is about.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping Bel familiarizes herself more with space. Cyberspace.
Now this extract from Space Bel’s column will, I’m sure, get someone’s goat:

There’s inaccuracy regarding the ZTE document signed in Boao, China, last April, and peddling it shows the opposition’s intellectual dishonesty. President Arroyo went to Boao mainly to deliver a speech before the biannual gathering of international leaders there. Afterwards she planned to spend a week in China, but First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s condition forced her to cut her visit to only 12 hours. Before flying back, Ms Arroyo witnessed the signing of several agreements by various government officials, among them the ZTE deal.

What was signed, however, was not a contract, but only a memorandum of understanding on a supply contract, which is only Step No. 3 in a 17-step process that includes multi-department reviews. The Department of Finance late last year circulated an enlightening graph showing this long process. The many steps could be the reason the cancellation of the deal took five months. But this graph was ignored by the media, which chose instead to strengthen the perception that the ZTE “contract” was consummated at Boao.

I leave it to Uniffors, though, to chew on in. If anyone can get her goat, that blogger will. Perhaps Bel has no diplomatic experience and so needs to be informed what it means when a head of state witnesses the signing of any sort of official document.
And so, the debate on what to do, what not to do (or simply, to be left alone, as A Simple Life prefers), or perhaps whether what should be done is worth it it all, continue. Pinoy Potter’s Chronicles is filled with misgivings at the scale of the problem. And yes, ambivalence about People Power, see The Warrior Lawyer.
He’s not a blogger but Juan Mercado’s Fond illusion looks at the same problem, too:

The crisis, meanwhile, dismantles unnoticed one of our fondest illusions: that before midnight, someone on a white charger, will dash in to banish enemies. They’d rebuild plundered institutions while we slump back to business-as-usual.

This ZTE scam instead tells us: Look beyond discredited pretenders to ordinary people. Leadership is not an office. It is life lived and, in the on-going process, brings change. Academics, parents, students and barangay officials seeking truth will usher in tomorrow. They continue to do that with Governor “Among Ed” Panlilio in Pampanga province. People Power is a weapon of last resort. A stray “hinge factor” may yet see that unsheathed.

“Much of what is new and innovative is not initiated by governments,” Indonesian thinker Soedjatmoko wrote. “Their source is ‘movements from below’: expressions by ordinary people of their aspirations for a decent, secure and equitable way of life.”

Or, as big mango asks, should we aspire for a continuing revolution?
As John Nery points out, what people overlook is that a People Power moment just materializes, though it’s the tug-of-war over public opinion that creates a situation in which People Power can manifest itself. Two years ago I quoted Teodoro L. Locsin Jr.’s dismissive remark on the first impeachment effort, that the opposition was “trying to manufacture a People Power moment,” and agreed with him; there is a more conscious appreciation of the need not to force things forward but trust the Fates to let them unfold in their own good time (which is why those who argue the recent gatherings are an effort to force that moment, are completely wrong).
Returning to Neri:

I think it is fair to say that, for many who are now outraged by the abuse of power and immoderate greed revealed by the ZTE-NBN scandal, the analogy for today’s crisis is that turbulent 100-day period between October 2000 and January 2001. If true, then taking to the streets should quickly lead to a decisive People Power moment.

But it is also possible that the real analogy goes farther back in time. The highly esteemed Torn and Frayed blog, for instance, posits the idea that Lozada is today’s Perfecto Yasay — the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who dueled with Estrada a year before Singson saw the light (the headlight, that is, of an unfriendly police vehicle). We should remember that the road to EDSA People Power II wound through Ayala Avenue too; in August 1999, over 100,000 people thronged the famous intersection to denounce Estrada’s attacks on press freedom.

I think the real analogy may be to that even more turbulent 1,000-day period between the Ninoy Aquino assassination and EDSA People Power I. We took to the streets almost every week then, driven by the need to confront the evil in the system, but acutely aware that the dictator’s fake-hero persona would not allow him to cede control peacefully. People Power as we know it now was not even a dream then.

So, yes, we should take to the streets; we should repair to our churches; we should fill the public square. But we should let People Power take care of itself.

Meanwhile, it’s up to the citizenry to figure out their personal level of engagement, and define what their participation ought to look like, as caffeine_sparks suggests. Blogger-citizens like Don’t F**k with a Ninja!! are under the impression that political questions require “proof” beyond reasonable doubt. This has never been the case whether for impeachment or elections, a moral certainty is what’s required, precisely because proof beyond reasonable doubt is what’s required for a criminal conviction; in political matters what suffices is simply a preponderance of evidence (as in civil cases). Does it exist? c0nfoUnd aMbigUity seems to think so.
What interests me though are those who support the President because they are uneasy about the Vice-President. But the President hand-picked de Castro to be her vice-presidential candidate; he was her choice, and she knows as well as anyone else that a veep is literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, it’s happened three times to us. Therefore, in her mind, the person best qualified to succeed her should the unthinkable ever happen, is the Vice-President. So you trust her wisdom, then you must accept her choice. If you didn’t accept her choice, you should’ve voted for someone else for veep (for this reason, I voted to Hermie Aquino in 2004).

signs of life has no qualms about standing up and being counted at the present time. Pedestrian Observer links to ongoing on-line efforts.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

170 thoughts on “Belinda in Space

  1. Jeg said:

    To be fair, from what I caught of Madriaga’s testimony, most of it was about his conversations with his boss at ZTE Leo San Miguel. He didnt have first-hand knowledge as to where and to whom the overprice went. His first-hand knowledge had to do with the cost of the project and its subsequent ballooning.

    Agreed, that is why E.O. 464 needs to be removed so that a proper investigation can proceed. Corroboration can bring us nearer to the truth, however since this administration keeps on covering up investigations and habitually lie to boot, where does that leave the citizens on whom to believe? That is why Lozada and other witnesses are credible in the eyes of the people because this administration is covering up the truth hence they are deemed to have done something dirty. They try to choke media and protests, that then confirms that Gloria and here ilk have something to hide.

    People are now looking for champions for truth as truth has been systematically hidden by this administration through Executive Orders and mailed fist tactics. That is the way it is, so for those who goes into nitty-gritty legalisms to prevent truth from surfacing (like this Lozada creature, most of the Tongressman and some people I know), the people shall not believe them, as such when the critical mass is reached, then they shall reap the whirlwind.

  2. From ManilaStandardToday:

    Neri’s brief? Oligarchs control RP economy
    By Christine F. Herrera

    AN ADVISER to Senator Panfilo Lacson yesterday said that former Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri briefed opposition politicians in a secret meeting last December on how “national oligarchs” influenced government policies and national elections.

    Testifying at the Senate hearings on a lingering corruption allegation, Lito Banayo said he was at the meeting where Neri briefed Lacson and Senator Jamby Madrigal at the Asian Institute of Management.

    Lacson witness Rodolfo Lozada was also at the meeting, Banayo said.

    In his lecture, Banayo said, Neri allegedly claimed that former Board of Investments governor Tomas Alcantara was involved in oil smuggling that resulted in at least P3 billion a year in “foregone revenues.”

    Banayo presented a chart that Neri prepared, and it supposedly showed that President Arroyo was at the center of the “ecosystem of corruption.”

    Neri, he said, stressed that the President needed the oligarchs or big businessmen for survival. But Neri, even before the Banayo testimony, merely laughed off the chart, saying it was part of his standard political-economic briefing to any interested group, the media included.

    In the diagram, Banayo identified TA as Tomas Alcantara of C. Alcantara and Sons, and ER as Enrique Razon Jr., chairman and chief executive of International Container Terminal Services Inc. Other “oligarchs” in the diagram included Lucio Tan, owner of Philippine Airlines; Donald Dee; Endika Aboitiz; John Gokongwei; and the Lopez family.

    Other businessmen such as Manuel Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. were outside the circle of oligarchs, Banayo said, quoting Neri.

    – – – –

    Deposed President Joseph Estrada was also on the diagram but was said to be part of the opposition.

    Banayo said Neri listed three institutions that were pro-Senate and anti-Arroyo. These were the Senate media, civil society groups and the Catholic Church.

    “I don’t see how we can achieve any consensus on reforms given the present situation. Nothing can also happen because the Church, the opposition, civil society and the media cannot remove her from power,” Banayo quoted Neri as saying.

    Banayo said the group at the meeting did not dwell on the oligarchs because they were more interested in the ZTE scandal.

  3. Gaite’s manny was not his. it was loaned to him by an uncle intended to have his in-laws’ house renovated. Gaite spent years in the seminary we must believe his story whole heartedly. I can understand the deepseated pain Mrs. Gaite who is a former nun must have been feeling.

    What is in this administration that makes almost all of its men pathoLogical liars! So, the comtract afterall was flawed-kawawa Formoso and Leandro Mendoza- MAG RESIGN NA KAYO!

  4. Mita:

    My guess is that between GMAs bags of cash and the respect of some vocal constituents, congressmen will choose the former 99% of the time.

  5. Guys, there is no chance of E.O. 464 being lifted before the end of GMA’s term. If she lifts that, tapos na ang boksing. If you doubt that, just imagine what Gudani and Balutan’s testimony–after all, they were the first victims of 464–will do to her.

  6. UP n student,

    Actually even the relationship of China to the Philippine government is reflected in the diagram that Lito Banayo showed.

    I noticed in the diagram that the Filipino masses are small in comparison to the image bubbles of other interest groups and organizations. It somehow reflects how small we the whole population of the Philippines are compared to these manipulative power blocs.

  7. This administration will just delay or offer another palliative solution instead of lifting E.O.464. That is why anti-corruption groups should not rest on its laurels and should continue scheduled mass actions and recruitments against corruption.

  8. Correction at February 27th, 2008 12:12 pm “…legalisms to prevent truth from surfacing (like this Lozada creature, most of the Tongressman and some people I know),…”

    Should be “this Lozano creature, Gloria’s personal lawyer/doctor who regularly immunized her from impeachment every year,…”

  9. Hi Mike,

    I’ve received some disturbing news that even if E.O. 464 is lifted, it would be quite useless since it was reported that there is a Memorandum Circular 108 issued by Malacanang is practically the same as E.O. 464, thus the request of the CBCP is useless. I hope someone can verify how true this report is.

  10. Hi guys, just saw Neri, Golez and some people I didn’t recognize have dinner tonight at the HEAT EDSA Shang, the buffet is nice though…

  11. Mita,
    I am for making our representatives work for us, even in the previous threads. Its just that at times I feel frustrated with everything thats happening. Its wrong I know, we haven’t started on this route yet. Maybe its frustrating in the beginning but when we get one or two who are willing to listen it’ll get the ball rolling right?

  12. mlq3, is there anything unusual about eating dinner? i suppose neri still needs to have a meal amidst all the fuss over him.

  13. in view of the fact that Lozano is what he is – don’t just watch him – start a patriot fund for him – NOW NA! LoL!

    i’m starting to print out flyers with our representative’s name and batasan contact details which i intend to drop off to as many households in our area. i’ll also put down: if you want anything done, call the honorable so-and-so.

    when it’s election time they send out flyers that litter our streets, afterwards they just hang up “thank you” banners. well, i think thank you is not enough, they should make themselves available for the people.

  14. Sir:

    First off, I’m glad u took time to check my blog ( I never thought that my trying to stay sane in this madness about Jun Lozada and ZTE scandal had gotten your and Ms. Cunanan’s attention.

    We may have differences of opinion in this matter but let me say that it does not affect my high regard for ur wit and nationalism.

    Anyway, my only concern when I put up that blog was there is something wrong with the picture of Jun Lozada AND Ping Lacson together. Somehow, somewhere, something connects them more than just a staff of the Senator who happened to be a friend of Lozada’s brother. Call me a classic conspiracy theorist but the 2010 elections and the dirty nature of our electoral politics deems a more critical look at the present crisis brought about by Jun Lozada.

    I have nothing against Senator Lacson. But I do have SOMETHING against those who would manipulate the masses – our opinions, our votes and our numbers – in the furtherance of their self interests.

    God bless and more power.

  15. Letter to the editor


    Dear Belinda,

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson revealed the other day that your husband is a Malacañang appointee. What’s your response to this possible conflict of interest between your Jurassic, I mean, journalistic work (?) and your husband’s appointment?

    What is your response to this possible scenario: Belinda criticizes the “Evil Bitch”. The “Evil Bitch”, who is the patron of Belinda’s husband, gets mad and sacks Belinda’s husband. Belinda’s husband loses his salary, bonuses, and perks. Ergo, Belinda keeps licking the shoes of the “Evil Bitch”. I hope you will shed light on this matter and won’t stonewall like your husband’s patron.

    Sincerely yours,


    P.S. If you have time, can you please write an article about your husband’s positions in government. Oh common, don’t be shy of your husband’s connection to Malacañang.

  16. Ah, ganun pala yun: pag pro-GMA, or di masyado anti-GMA ang comment, rather than debate with the commentator based on the merits of his argument, one of the very first things done is to find where the connection with the Little Girl is.

    So… it’s either the tyranny of the Little Girl, or the tyranny of the… how should I call those people who, in their own way, suppress dissent to their ideas yet demand that their peeve – i.e. Gloria – accord them the freedom to call her unsavory names and demand for her head?


    I pity Noli, in case he’s allowed to sit. He has less the power that Gloria’s holding now. He probably won’t survive a fortnight in the Palace.

  17. Belinda Cunanan is a GMA apologist! I understand her because it is through the Regime that their bread is being buttered. Her husband Retired Admiral Thelmo Cunanan has been appointed to different juicy positions in the Evil Bitch’s regime.

  18. hi manolo!

    greetings from seoul!

    just wanted to clarify that the blog “Pilipinas: Pinoy, Buhay at Pulitika” was set up in 2005 by my graduate student and junior faculty at dlsu – jet olfato as a final requirement for my course on Constitutional Reforms. the postings were reflection papers on the weekly assigned readings so its ludricous for bel cunanan to claim that it was recently set up by “outraged parents.”

    all the best!

    july teehankee

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