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. while I agree with your premise that the dollar in the short term will appreciate via a vis the peso, however; the reasons of dolar appreciation lies on whats happening stateside. Cuurently, while the dollar is fundamentally overvalued, it is also technically oversold. If there will be a true US recession, watch for the peso to give some of its gains. In the environment of just a US economic slowdown, the peso will hover around its current value. What is clear on all of this is that the time of rapid peso appreciation is definitely over at least on the short term.

    Shorting any currency is extremely risky as the downside is infinite. I will not in any way recommend that unless you eat, breath and sleep with the market. This is more of the turf of the big hedge funds.

    To be on topic, GMA is one lucky biatch he he he…..20% peso appreciation, 30 quarters of continued growth and bungling opposition.

  2. hmmm, I notice something here since yesterday.

    1) I couldn’t blog in the afternoon (Manolo’s is hacked?)
    2) Most anti-GMA bloggers seem happy, the pros are silent
    3) Manolo puts Belinda Cunanan on the spotlight

    For the last item, all I can say is, Bel must be one of those lucky bit…es around. The last time Gloria came here, Bel C. was in tow with a few rah-rah journalists. Of course, she acted like any other VIP tourist in a 5-star hotel in Waikiki.

    Seriously, those writer-apologists of Gloria’s misrule, or misguided regime, must be uneasy these days. For a time, Amando Doronila was doing it, and a few others. Ditto for her loyal defenders trying to justify the stinky NBN deal. Fomoso or any of those so-called technocrats better keep mum – or pack their bags.

  3. i voted for Roco and Hermie Aquino. last election, my congressman did not win, and naga does not vote for governor since we’re a chartered city. i voted for robredo.

    kaya pag narinig ko pa si benign0 magtanong ng “who voted those bozos in?” isasampal ko sa kanya ang malakas na: “hindi ako, gago!”

    kasalanan ko ba kung si dato na di bikolano eh nanalo sa distrito na napakadaling bilhin ang mga boto?
    kasalanan ko ba na ang hayop na villafuerte(the father) na yan ay patuloy na sinisira ang pangalan ng mga bikolano?

    i have always, ever since – voted with my conscience. and none of that crap – let’s vote for GMA to prevent an FPJ presidency. and look what you fuckers got. if we had a primary bet GMA and Roco, Roco would have won and went on to win the presidency.

    but then again, if Lacson did not run, FPJ would still have won over Roco.

    benigno keeps harping abt the stupidity of filipino voters. here’s my challenge: go change that by going into the countryside and educating those whom you love to ridicule. but unless you go down that pulpit, nothing will come of your ideas except hot air.

    so what does this teaches us?

    if you want to be president, run for vice president.

  4. cbcp-“arryo:take lead vs. corruption”, best joke there is although it not funny! it’s like letting the wolf watching you flock of sheep!
    these men in cbcp lost their marbles! i called them “men” because they don’t deserve the title of priest or bishop!
    let us make know to those men that we don’t agree with their stand tantamount to supporting gma! let us not give alms during masses and not support their projects and send them letters of protest. they should have just shut their pie holes if they have nothing good to say the filipino nation. there is term for these men that Jesus used in his time on earth- “pharisees”. Jesus warn us of these kind of self-righteous men!

  5. istambay, not all priests are as bad as you make them out to be. many are still out there, in the countryside, doing good work, God’s work. the lay people and most of the lower ranked priests are all good christians and embody christ’s teachings.
    it’s the leadership that has gone bonkers.

    you can easily distinguish the pharisees from the true followers of Christ by one thing: those who follow Christ are actively involved in community development. pharisees wallow in their fat and proclaim infallibility conferred by God. PRIDE is the worst sin agst God. so who do you think sins the most in the catholic hierarchy?

    pope, can i hear you saying you’re humble enough to claim you’re fallible? phooey!

  6. how can anti-gma bloggers be happy with more rotten eggs on their faces, unless they have grown accustomed to them? this futile exercise of plotting to oust gma before her term ends is getting more boring with each debacle. when, oh when will these people wake up to reality that their unholy quest is causing havoc to the nation? let pgma be until 2010. you don’t have to “love” her or like her. just respect the office of the presidency and all the other institutions of the state.

    of course, wrongdoers in government should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law; but only with sufficient evidence and after due process of the law.

  7. “just respect the office of the presidency and all the other institutions of the state”

    Oh really? Shouldn’t it be “the incumbent should respect his/her office…”

  8. “this futile exercise of plotting to oust gma before her term ends is getting more boring with each debacle. when, oh when will these people wake up to reality that their unholy quest is causing havoc to the nation? let pgma be until 2010. you don’t have to “love” her or like her. just respect the office of the presidency and all the other institutions of the state” — Bencard

    The IRONY in what you just said is that all this is being made to be some kind of HOLY quest by all these men and women in robes (and one Lady in Yellow) that currently infest our society.

    To be fair, it seems that the Catholic Bishops have backed off a bit expressing their stand that people are free to choose what to do and how to express what they believe should be the next steps in this whole debacle and that the Church no longer should figure as a key inciting force.

    That’s well and good. I’m hoping they are starting to realise how medievally-backward they make the Philippines look whenever their crucifixes and weeping nuns make front-page photos and get Bandila airtime all over the world.

  9. “We should now turn our homes into sanctuaries from official lying.” — Editorial, 27 Feb 2008

    That sounds really peachy, until one considers how much of an inherent advocate of lies and half-truths Pinoys actually are even in their own homes.

    I recall a middle aged man who lamented this reality in a rather crudely written by straight-from-the-heart letter to me a couple of years ago:

    “we filipinos are so hypocrete. we live on lies and half truth.

    when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

    another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.

    there’s alot more lies and half truth i learn from my elders, when we went to US at my age of 10 [years old], I was so surprised how ordinary folks explain everything as if am talking to them as the same age as mine. up to now am still wandering why we filipinos doesnt treat kids as intellectual and the future of our country, in the philippines, youth are deprive of ideas what is better for them. look who’s the one talking and explaining everything on tv,radios or in press con. FVR 78 [years old], DOJ Gonzales 78 [years old], Ex Gen Abat 80 [years old], Sec Ermita and other’s who as if t[h]ey will still live by hundred years and cannot accept that their ideas are already “kalawang”. please you oldies, give the youth what is best for the country and for them.”

    check out the whole letter here:

    So think twice about being so pompous about the way we point accusing fingers at our politicians. They merely reflect the quality of the society they govern.

  10. ‘another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.’

    That explains why benignO is full of sh*t.

  11. “That explains why benignO is full of sh*t.” — supremo

    Too bad nobody seems to be able to clearly explain the nature of this sh1t I am allegedly full of.

    Tough luck. 😀

  12. actually at first i thought they were the smell of rotten eggs in my face! i realised that i never had one and it was someone else smelling sh*t!

  13. somebody please differentiate the word “expain” from “spin”. seems a few individuals here are good at “spinning” things ratrher than “explaining” as they claim.

  14. umagang kay ganda, bishops ineguez phone interview where he claimed that “hindi pa sufficient ang evidence” (on graft and corruption of gma)- what a b.s.! what more proof that they need? ika nga mahirap talagang gisingin ang nagtulogtulogan!
    again, they have lost their marbles.
    let us voice our collective protest! PHARISEES!

  15. The advantages of a financial based empire. . They can absorb a financial loss of a trillion with out feeling it.

    “Those who believe even Prof Roubini’s scenario too optimistic ignore an inconvenient truth: the financial system is a subsidiary of the state. A creditworthy government can and will mount a rescue. That is both the advantage – and the drawback – of contemporary financial capitalism.”

    “If the worst comes to the worst, the government can mount a bail-out similar to the one of the bankrupt savings and loan institutions in the 1980s. The maximum cost would be 7 per cent of GDP. That would raise US public debt to 70 per cent to GDP and would cost the government a mere 0.2 per cent of GDP, in perpetuity. That is a fiscal bagatelle.”

    Because the US borrows in its own currency, it is free of currency mismatches that made the balance-sheet effects of devaluations devastating for emerging economies. Devaluation offers, instead, a relatively painless way out of a slowdown: an export surge. Between the fourth quarter of 2006 and the fourth quarter of 2007, the improvement in US net exports generated 30 per cent of US growth.

    Why is the U.S. running close to full employment? Now you know why

    Martin Wolf FT

  16. Methinks Gloria Arroyo (i deliberately omitted the title and middle name) does not deserve the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

    I support calls for resignation. But deep down my gut, I know Mrs. Arroyo will not resign. It is in her, her family, and her minions’ survival interest, not to step down. As Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s unsolicited advise to Mrs Arroyo goes, “Step down, you’re dead”.

    Still despite the improbability of Mrs. Arroyo “heeding” the resignation calls, I still maintain that she is unfit, mayabang, and arogante, for having the gall to speak like she does in the past few days, in the face of glaring accusations of corruption. Her boytoys (Ermita, Nograles, Golez), her evil spawns (failed-actor Mikey and Dato) and that blabbering thing named Lorelei Fajardo, is not helping her image either. Arroyo, through this political cockroaches, takes the form of the “devil” that Romulo Neri aptly described her to be.

    And being a Catholic myself, i looked forward to the position of the Bishops regarding the politcial climate. I WANTED the CBCP to join the resignation call, but again, deep down, I was half-expecting what actually came out in the pastoral letter late last night.

    The Bishops echoed just about every point of the Gloria-resign sectors, except the resignation part.

    And i think the pay-off of such “prudence”, is calling for the lifting of EO 464.

    I was initially disappointed upon hearing the supremely `disciplined` pastoral letter, BUT my disappointment evaporated quickly after hearing the “calls to lift the EO 464” part of the letter.

    Here’s why: had the CBCP called for Arroyo’s resignation, AND at the same time, called for the lifting of EO 464, Malacañang would have summarily dismissed the CBCP’s position, including the chance for the debate or possibility of EO 464 to be lifted.

    To my mind, the CBCP is bidding its time. Taking a slow, but more realistic and concrete steps towards the same end that the Gloria-Resign mass wants: ridding the Malacañang of a thief.

    The CBCP’s position just needs a second look, and a little bit of second guessing. It is matter of choosing what battles to fight, in the interest of winning a bigger war.

  17. “To my mind, the CBCP is bidding its time. Taking a slow, but more realistic and concrete steps towards the same end that the Gloria-Resign mass wants: ridding the Malacañang of a thief.” — Liz

    I don’t think it is the place of the Church or any organised religion to be playing king-maker or king-destroyer in a “modern” society (well, at least the kind of democratic SECULAR society that presumably most Pinoys aspire to).

  18. Liz,

    I absolutely agree. I really don´t understand why all the papers run headlines about CBCP refusing to call for GMA resingation. The bishops did no such thing. If you actually read the full pastoral letter, it is very tough on GMA and leads to right conclusions, I believe.

  19. bening0,

    I am pro-secular all the way, but the strong position and influence the church enjoys in the Philippines is just one anomaly among many, isn´t? Equally, you should be calling for Congress to represent the population accordingly, i.e. serve the interests of the poor majority, not just the rich minority. And don´t even get me started on what any normal president´s role should be…

  20. the revealing part of the bishop’s letter is the account on media to be objective and fair– that’s a slap on the greatest instigators ABS-CBN and PDI.

    And ANC didn’t even bother to mention this…truth my foot!

  21. Total illegal price difference that the Filipinos will pay for a SINGLE TRANSACTION (i.e. NOT including other transactions like the rushed Northrail project) is $ 279,000,000 or P 3,950,000,000 at the old exchange rate of P 50 is to $ 1.00.

    Now what can you do with nearly 4 BILLION PESOS in this single anomalous transaction alone?

    I misprinted, it should have been nearly 14 BILLION PESOS worth of graft by the “Filipino Group”

  22. “Equally, you should be calling for Congress to represent the population accordingly, i.e. serve the interests of the poor majority, not just the rich minority. And don´t even get me started on what any normal president´s role should be…” – bafil

    Agree. Funny, how others are more focused on the reform-oriented bloggers, CBCP, and opposition, when they should be looking at the REAL CROOKS, the representatives, Gloria, and FG et al. Which is more important, the wrongdoing itself or the guys trying to make it right but are apparently(?) doing it wrong?
    How could the need to be CONTRARY or debate be more important than the issuess themselves?
    How could the need to dish out wit overshadow the desperation of some people who are now suffering under this regime? Its easy to be appear cynical when you can blog leisurely from afar. Most especially if you don’t actually know anyone in the country…

  23. SIDE-TOPIC: Feb 27 to Feb 29 Conference – Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.

    Prosecutors, judges, human rights advocates and even high-level justices from such countries as Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Spain, the US, Indonesia, and the rest of Southeast Asia, are expected to meet with Philippine media, rights advocates, and members of the national legal community to address the topic of and to attend a conference on “Impunity and Press Freedom” in the Philippines from Wednesday, February 27 to Friday, February 29.

    Welcoming the foreign experts, said the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and its Manila-based member, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), will be no less then Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, who will deliver the opening keynote address to the conference.

    “The Philippines, unfortunately, is notorious for the number of journalists that have been killed in recent years and over the past two decades,” says Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of the CMFR.

    CMFR notes that no less than 70 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which along with the Open Society Insitute (OSI) is supporting this week’s conference, in 2006 called the Philippines one of the “most murderous” places for journalists anywhere in the world.

    During the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo alone, CMFR says at least 33 journalists have been murdered in the line of duty. There have been few arrests, and zero conviction of the masterminds behind the murders.

    For queries, call Ms. Lara de Jesus at tel (632) 894-1314, (632) 894-1326, (632) 840-0903, telefax (632) 840-0889.

  24. If well used for the benefit of the Filipinos in need, which includes job generation and immediate emergency basic needs, what can 14 BILLION PESOS do? No wonder these greedy bast*rds consider P 500,000 as regular pocket money.

  25. Liz said:

    I support calls for resignation. But deep down my gut, I know Mrs. Arroyo will not resign. It is in her, her family, and her minions’ survival interest, not to step down. As Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s unsolicited advise to Mrs Arroyo goes, “Step down, you’re dead”…

    Hmm, if true then the next question is from where the threat would come from. It is entirely possible that one of the corrupt big shots (or group of big shots) themselves would do her in (in the remote possibility she would step down) to prevent Gloria from spilling the beans on these shady characters; familiar pattern of a mafia organization’s code of silence. I do not think that they are the type who would say, “What is a couple of Billion (and divulging our identities ) between friends”

  26. Bafil,

    true. sometimes things are not what they are at face value. especially on Philippine politics. it takes a lot of thinking to get through sanitized and media-fit facade. if one is emotional, he/she fails to see what’s important.


    sure. TO SOME EXTENT, secularism, for me, must be upheld in normal conditions of running the affairs of the State. but in the wake of such gut-wrenching accusation of corruption (billions for that matter), like the civil society, business, lawyers, managers, opposition, and the youth, the Church is entitled to its institutional stand on matters where its faithful are stakeholders of, which in this case, is of the State’s.

  27. Kabayan,

    to me, Senator Enrile’s remarks is not about a literal “dead”. i think it is about a scenario that once she resigns, and therefore loses her immunity, she will be swarmed with charges upon charges of graft and corruption, and her long standing critics will descend upon her like vultures. that’s how i took Sen. Enrile’s advice to the GMA.

  28. Liz, Kabayan, i’ve commented before that our situation is like a long drawn out hostage-taking, with our entire nation being the one held hostage by an illegitimate occupant of Malacanang (and whoever is behind her). The debate within our institutions and communities, whether it be the clergy, the business community and the military, and among ourselves, is along the lines of how to take out the hostage-taker without the nation becoming collateral damage.

  29. BryanB said:

    “One effective way to counterbalance the damaging influence of the oligarchs is to campaign to the lower and middle classes to wake up and be a little more vigilant for their own good. Magtulungan tayo at pagtulungan natin ang mga yan”


    “Laws are made for men. I can’t quote an authoritative source right now except Jesus but I bet what millions of people feel are superior to petty technicalities. Besides the Bill of Rights, laws are malleable in the longer and wider view”

    And Then:

    “I will not celebrate Gloria’s ouster util I see one clean presidential election. No thank you”

    Well said my friend…Those who want GMA out have the following options:

    1. Willing (Hah! Is that even an option?) or Forced GMA resignation due to Rallies/People Power – I think more people will join if it can be reassured that the constitutional succession is followed – i.e. Noli De Castro Presidency (Best option I think!). The operative word here is RESIGNATION.

    However, I think she will not resign as long as she thinks she can hang on till 2010! (I.e. no military withdrawal of support and 1 million plus people or vice versa) Is 1 million representative in a population of 80 million plus? I dont’t know but it will be nearly impossible for any President to hang on to his/her seat if you have that many people in the Streets! Now you will need to convince the 1 million people why they should leave the riveting Oscars to “hang out with friends” and oust a President in the process!

    2. Go the impeachment route. This will only succeed if enough pressure is put on the “elected” Congressmen by their CONSTITUENCY (yeah those probinsyanos who keep electing them!) that they (or their kamaganaks!) will not be reelected if they support GMA and kill another impeachment! How come I don’t see any pressure here like WARNING! WARNING! I WILL NOT VOTE FOR AN OLIGARCH AGAIN! or “SA MGA PROBINSYANO NATING KABABAYAN – MAGPAKA KAPAMPANGAN NGA KAYO…IBOTO NYO TULAD IN FATHER PANLILIO HINDI YUNG GUAPO O MAYAMAN NA PADRINO NI JUNIOR!”

    3. Be vigilant against corruption, FIX THE ELECTORAL PROCESS and and be ready for 2010! Now if she tries to hang on to power by 2010 or if the election is cancelled by the COMELEC/Congressmen/Senate/Military/GMA or Jesus Christ! Then I’ll hang out with you in the Streets for another People Power!

    4. Respect the will of the Electorate in 2010. Yes! Even the Metro Squatter who voted for the mestizo actor, Or the Atenean who voted for the polician with the Harvard Accent! Or those who voted for the member from the ANG LADLAD Party (Assuming the COMELEC has been reformed by then why not?) Or those who voted for the bloody left wing rabble rouser from the Akbayan Party! (I keep asking myself does Akbayan stand for Anak ng Bayan? If so I am sooo tempted to say Hoy, hindi ka anak ng Bayan! Anak ka ng Tatay at Nanay mo!) LOL!

    I agree with your first and third comments. I disagree with your second premise about Laws are made for men etc. Laws are actually made for men and woment BY MEN and WOMEN (elected by men and women) for an ordering of Society and therefore disagree that “what millions of people feel are superior to petty technicalities”.

    Laws are not “petty technicalities”.

    In Mature Western Democracies Power is ultimately in the hands of the People – via the Electoral Process. Make the lawmakers (Senators and Congressmen) and those implementing the Laws accountable via Fair and Credible elections! If the Electoral Process is flawed and is not fixed then you will have People Power AD INFINITUM!

    So how come I don’t hear any urgency or clamor from the people to fix COMELEC and ensure an Efficient, Fair and Credible elections in 2010?

    MLQ – Sorry about the caps!

  30. Liz said:


    …to me, Senator Enrile’s remarks is not about a literal “dead”.

    That’s good, we need to know all those who are involved, otherwise her minions, oligarch’s and government mafia allies will pop up in our society again.


    cvj said:

    Liz, Kabayan, i’ve commented before that our situation is like a long drawn out hostage-taking, with our entire nation being the one held hostage by an illegitimate occupant of Malacanang (and whoever is behind her). The debate within our institutions and communities, whether it be the clergy, the business community and the military, and among ourselves, is along the lines of how to take out the hostage-taker without the nation becoming collateral damage.

    I myself can’t really predict the likely events to follow, we just have to patiently work till these leeches are removed and tried by the society they wantonly abuse. It’s a group of individuals who are involved by the way; Gloria Arroyo and her office is simply a path where they can use to “legitimately” wield power (i.e. the Rule of Law they keep harping about) and manipulated laws for the clique’s benefit.

    Columnist Lito Banayo’s Oligarchic Structure Diagram given to him by Neri is an eye opener to this.

  31. cvj said,

    Kabayan, were you able to get a copy of that diagram or did anyone put it up online?

    No dice, wasn’t able to get any. I was hoping someone can and post it in the internet and tell us the link.

  32. Agree. Funny, how others are more focused on the reform-oriented bloggers, CBCP, and opposition, when they should be looking at the REAL CROOKS, the representatives, Gloria, and FG et al. Which is more important, the wrongdoing itself or the guys trying to make it right but are apparently(?) doing it wrong?

    I believe both are important. How can you make right or correct a wrong doing by doing it the wrong way?.

  33. What was the “right way” before is now corrupted by this administration; the most glaring of this is E.O. 464. Now Gloria is reaping the whirlwind.

  34. ramrod,

    like rego said “…both are important.” you cannot get to the crooks if you don’t get to the representatives. You have to look toward resolution or everything, even the wranglings we got into here, was for nothing.

    as for everyone else, it’s all part of the package that makes the dysfunctional system what it is. if you don’t, at the very least, discuss it now, they will all come back to haunt you…

    btw, watch Oliver Lozano!

  35. Oliver Lozano is like a pest who’s doing what is natural for him to do and which the system allows him to do. It’s for our honorable lawmakers to plug the loophole that Lozano and the like is using to make a fool out of them(lawmakers) and us(the people).

  36. I cannot but agree with Lea Navarro that the CBCP has relegated itself to irrelevance.

    But that it is a positive development, long overdue at that, because only the people and not a handful of Bishops can chart history. But history will always be on the side of those who are fighting for what is right. Hitler, Stalin, Russian Bolshevism, Marcos, American intervention in Vietnam, Saddam Hussein, Pres Nixon, Erap, etc etc. Where are they now?

    I really believe that man’s political history has its own of correcting society to the right path. No matter what despots and tyrants do.

    Come to think of it, I vividly remember that Catholic Bishops only threw its support behind the people when it became obvious that Marcos’ days are numbered in 1986.

    Research if there was any reaction from CBCP during the heydays of corruption during the Marcos regime and immediately after Ninoy Aquino was killed.

    When Kruschev denounced Stalin and asked members of the Politburo where were they during the pogroms of Stalin, he was met with silence.

    That is where the Bishops were always during trying times, in silence.

    If you want to have a barometer on whether GMA is on the way out, watch the move of the Bishops. Once they disengage from this regime, it means the end is near.
    Not because of them, but in spite of them.

  37. “I really believe that man’s political history has its own of correcting society to the right path. No matter what despots and tyrants do.” — frombelow

    Let’s not forget the Catholic Church’s own extensive track record of SUPPRESSING free thought, propagating ignorance, and inciting bloody crusades; not to mention the genocide it led against heretics and conquered natives in the Americas.

    Gloria may be a crook, but she did try (as a few other politicians try to do before her — including Marcos) to implement family planning programs; all of which were undermined or outright stamped out by the Church.

    Which is the greater crime then?

    Put the millions skimmed off these telco deals in the context of the shameful ballooning of the population of the Philippines from a manageable 20 million-odd 40 years ago to the 90+ million we see today.


    In my Inauguration Speech on January 20,2001,I told the nation my mantras: applying the highest level of moral standards, practicing good governance and leading by example .

    On many occasions, I have given my views on what our program of government should be. This is not the time or place to repeat them all. However, I can tell you that they converge on four core beliefs.

    1. We must be bold in our national ambitions, so that our challenge must be that within this decade, we will win the fight against poverty.

    2. We must improve moral standards in government and society, in order to provide a strong foundation for good governance.

    3. We must change the character of our politics, in order create fertile ground for true reforms. Our politics of personality and patronage must give way to a new politics of party programs and process of dialogue with the people.

    4. Finally, I believe in leadership by example. We should promote solid traits such as work ethic and a dignified lifestyle, matching action to rhetoric, performing rather than grandstanding.

    Let met talk about the moral aspect of my beliefs.

    Morality is the bedrock of public service. And this must start by the example set by leadership at a highest levels.

    I firmly believe that my example is integrity!

    To ensure that our gains are not dissipated through corruption, we must improve moral standards. As we do so, we create fertile ground for good governance based on a sound moral foundation, a philosophy of transparency, and an ethic of effective implementation.

    Let me now go back to the management style of this administration. As often mentioned, the Arroyo government is characterized by ‘Good Governance’. But what exactly is ‘Good Governance’? Allow me to share with you how I believe this government practices ‘Good Governance’.

    1)Good Governance under the Arroyo government is governance practiced with the highest level of integrity.

    *The National Power Corp. (Napocor) -CPK-Kalayaan rehabilitation project.
    * The race horse importation fiasco.
    * The overpriced Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard exposé.
    * Misuse of the fertilizer funds.
    * The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. scandals.
    * The jueteng scandals.
    * The Bribery of Governors and Congressmen in Malacanang.
    * The MOTHER of ALL SCANDALS: THE HELLO GARCI Mega Scandal that influenced the last Presidential elections.

    2)Good governance under this government is governance practiced with competence and expertise..

    *ZTE-NBN Broadband Deal

    3)Good governance under this government is governance practiced with transparency. This is a government prepared to face any public forum to explain its decisions and actions.

    *Executive Privilege
    *EO 464

    Good governance under this government is governance practiced with follow through. Ningas Cogon has no place in this government.

    And finally, good governance under this government is governance practiced with a strong sense of urgency and the need to act or decide.

    And so my friends – we may be sailing in stormy weather but your captain and her crew are well-equipped to steer our boat to calmer waters. The boat may rock back and forth, but not to worry – I see no risk of tipping over.

    As a parting word, let me share with you the wise words from a well-known international personality better known as MJ and the Company he represents. Nothing can better describe your government leadership as this –

    The Case is Closed !Let’s Move On!


    Thank you and good afternoon.

    Note:Pathological lying is falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime

  39. CBCP. The thing about the CBCP is, in politics, they are just another interest group. Their moves are calculated by those interests as much as any business group. If people think my words are sacrilegious, then I will burn in hell.

    If they have the power of discernment as they claim. Well, we ordinary mortals should start honing on our own skills of discernment as well…whether you pray for it or train yourself for independent thought is your choice.

  40. Kabayan: It seems that Madriaga is far more knowledgeable than Lozada on the corruption mechanics in the NBN project.

    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.

  41. “If they have the power of discernment as they claim. Well, we ordinary mortals should start honing on our own skills of discernment as well…whether you pray for it or train yourself for independent thought is your choice.” — Mita

    That’s the problem with these moronic street “revolutions” that Pinoys have become addicted to.

    It only takes a few whispers, text messages, a bit of operatic drama, and crying “heroes” — not to mention the usual toekn Lady-Dressed-in-Yellow — to incite cretins to join a street “revolution”.

    On the other hand, it requires brains (i.e. critical thinking faculties) to get the democratic institutions and processes CURRENTLY in place to work their wonders. That’s because these processes were designed around the concept of using a rigorous regime of logical debate and a bit of the scientific method (all based on evidence and a rigorous method of piecing them together) to tease out the Truth.

    Pinoys have become addicted to the easy shortsighted way, and shun the hard, rigorous, high-level-thinking-required (and therefore unfathomable to most Pinoys) path.

    Rigour and Process seem to be things that are utterly ALIEN to the Pinoy mind. That is why Pinoy minds are prone to hi-jacking by politicians and celibate men-in-robes.

    Go figure.

  42. “my constituents in district 3 of qc and my friends in barangka, marikina, said they were given food and P150 to stay for two hours and watch mrs. arroyo at the riverbanks, marikina event over the weekend.”

    Did Remoto win anything?

    Ederic, those hits came from 9 IP addresses only.

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