Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan (updated)

Something interesting happened yesterday. Early in the afternoon, the Palace alerted media, saying it should cover the President’s speech in Mindanao, because she would announce the revocation of Executive Order 464. ANC dutifully started covering the speech.

Then it was interrupted by a live press conference at the Palace (see Jove Francisco’s account).

Speaking to reporters were Secretaries See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Say No Evil, otherwise known as Favila, Ermita, and Mendoza. Favila told a touching tale of a befuddled President who left her (potentially dying) husband so that she could honor a request from Fidel V. Ramos to address the Asian equivalent of the Davos gabfest; she got a call, though, from her husband’s doctors and so, rushed home (the Chinese officials couldn’t speak English, Favila said, most undiplomatically, and so he had to converse with them through sign language). Ermita then did his usual folksy uncle schtick about his (not the President’s, mind you) setting up a committee to review E.O. 464. And Mendoza launched into his usual monologue about how utterly above-board the NBN-ZTE deal was. At a certain point, Palace admits Arroyo said ‘anomalya’ in radio interview: but only after the three cabinet members had their bluff called by reporters.

End result? Even if the President had announced she was revoking E.O. 464, it would have been drowned out by the live Palace press conference; but anyway, she didn’t, and the best anyone’s been able to gather is… She changed her mind.


Who knows. But let me hazard a guess. I think a power play took place, between the time the media was alerted to expect a presidential announcement, and the unscheduled Palace press conference.

I say this, because by some accounts, it’s happened before. The President’s plans to impose martial law were foiled by a rebellion of sorts on the part of her Secretary of National Defense, Avelino Cruz, Jr., with the tacit approval of the generals, in November, 2005 (See Philippine Commentary for details). In February, 2006, the President, never short of clever lawyers, had decided that if she declared a State of Emergency, she could wield martial law powers without defying the United States. This is why, as many people subsequently noticed, the President’s declaration of a State of Emergency was virtually a word-for-word copy of Marcos’s Proclamation of Martial Law in 1972.

And here enters the cabinet rebellion. Soon after the President made her announcement, some of her cabinet then appeared on TV to state that the proclamation authorized the President to wield considerable extraordinary powers; this was followed by Cruz and others appearing on TV to say that no, the President’s proclamation did not confer on her additional powers; at that instant the attempt to wield extraordinary powers was nipped in the bud.

I’m convinced something similar happened yesterday, but unlike Avelino Cruz, Jr. heading off martial law and then an effort for the President to assert extraordinary powers, this time around, Favila, Ermita, and Mendoza engineered the scuttling of the revocation of E.O. 464.

This is part and parcel of their efforts to counteract the President’s efforts to wriggle her way out of the NBN-ZTE mess by claiming that she knew, all along, that the deal was defective (somehow) and that it took her a long time to scrap the deal because she didn’t want to offend China. Had the President pursued that excuse, it would have left members of her cabinet exposed as liars and accomplices to the wrongdoing the President disowned.

So the President’s story was disowned, regardless of the reversal beggaring disbelief. So the President’s effort to pander to the bishops was scuttled, regardless if by doing so, it weakens the ability of the President’s bishop-allies to help her in the future: these cabinet members aren’t about to take a dive any more than they already have, for a President obviously prepared to feed them to the wolves.

Just a hunch. Meanwhile, enjoy this: Palace story on P.5M given to Lozada now on 3rd version.

My column for today is Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan. I have been following the unfolding diplomatic tack taken by this administration for some time now. For a backgrounder, see my Inquirer Current entry titled “The China Card.” It traces my articles on the subject and other relevant readings about the ongoing positioning among the Great Powers in our region as well as ASEAN, collectively, and its member countries.

At a time of American indifference with regards to Southeast Asia, and uncertainty over American attitudes towards the present government, courting China has become a major diplomatic priority of the Palace: on a commercial basis, this is no different from any other country eager to partake of China’s booming economy. But in terms of security and natural resources, American ambivalence about ASEAN has fostered a sense of regional solidarity among member nations, in the hope that acting as a bloc, it can extract better concessions from China as well as resist Chinese pressure better.

Because of her unique political problems, the President has had no qualms about projecting China as a potential -and at times, actual- replacement for the United States as an ally and source of assistance. But the diplomatic gambit has had domestic repercussions, too: NBN-ZTE.

Lately, however, besides domestic problems, the President’s relying on the China Card has upset ASEAN, too. This was revealed in a Far Eastern Economic Review article, Manila’s Bungle in The South China Sea. In our own media, Ricky Carandang tackled the issue in The Correspondents, in a segment you can watch on YouTube. And the papers have picked it up, for example, Malaya’s Treason in dirty Chinese loans? Under Beijing gun, Gloria commits RP to Spratly deal.

In light of the above, something John Mangun wrote on April 25, 2005 in The Philippines and China: A Bad Match now makes perfect sense:

Malacañang refuses to accept and deal with the fact that China invaded, occupied, and stole Philippine territory in the South China Sea. The Spratleys may be worthless outcroppings or the gateway to boundless treasure. It does not matter. Those atolls and islands are Filipino property as much as the ground on which the President walks each day. China’s conduct and treatment of the Philippines shows their inconsistency and lack of honesty in their conduct of foreign relations.

To view China and Japan similarly in our economic relations is a disaster for the nation. Madame President, listen well: China is a business COMPETITOR; Japan is a buying CUSTOMER. Fifteen years ago, ninety percent of all Christmas ornaments and decorations sold in the United States were imported from the Philippines. Now that ninety percent comes from China. The same trend occurred with Philippine garments and shoes.

According to the FEER report, there are two agreements of significance. The first is “Agreement for Seismic Undertaking for Certain Areas in the South China Sea By and Between China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company” signed on Sept. 1, 2004, and later superseded by a “Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in the Agreement Area in the South China Sea,” signed on March 14, 2005. The agreements were kept hush-hush by the three governments, understandably so in the case of Socialist Vietnam and The People’s Republic of China, but not so in the case of the ostensibly democratic Philippines.

As the FEER report says,

…the details having leaked into research circles, the reasons for wanting to keep it under wraps are apparent: “Some would say it was a sell-out on the part of the Philippines,” says Mark Valencia, an independent expert on the South China Sea. The designated zone, a vast swathe of ocean off Palawan in the southern Philippines, thrusts into the Spratlys and abuts Malampaya, a Philippine producing gas field. About one-sixth of the entire area, closest to the Philippine coastline, is outside the claims by China and Vietnam. Says Mr. Valencia: “Presumably for higher political purposes, the Philippines agreed to these joint surveys that include parts of its legal continental shelf that China and Vietnam don’t even claim.”

Worse, by agreeing to joint surveying, Manila implicitly considers the Chinese and Vietnamese claims to have a legitimate basis, he says. In the case of Beijing, this has serious implications, since the broken, U-shaped line on Chinese maps, claiming almost the entire South China Sea on “historic” grounds, is nonsensical in international law. (Theoretically, Beijing might stake an alternative claim based on an exclusive economic zone and continental shelf from nearby islets that it claims, but they would be restricted by similar claims by rivals.) Manila’s support for the Chinese “historic claim,” however indirect, weakens the positions of fellow Asean members Malaysia and Brunei, whose claimed areas are partly within the Chinese U-shaped line. It is a stunning about-face by Manila, which kicked up an international fuss in 1995 when the Chinese moved onto the submerged Mischief Reef on the same underlying “historic claim” to the area.

The “higher political purpose” euphemistically mentioned suggests purely partisan interests: that of the administration, which has, up to now, never disclosed these agreements. The Palace can always counter that “nobody asked,” and I’m sure this will be a Palace defense in the coming days. It may even claim that the agreement is a state secret, and covered by Executive Privilege.

This must be challenged. Not wanting to tip our government’s hand in negotiating international agreements may be understandable, but once signed, agreements should be subject to official disclosure. Reading old volumes of the Official Gazette, a regular portion was the publication, by direction of the President of the Philippines, of international agreements signed by the Republic. An agreement with economic consequences, and which involves defying an existing ASEAN consensus, certainly requires full disclosure. While MeiZhongTai pointed out in 2005 that an agreement had been signed and that exploration for oil had commenced (briefly noted by Ben Muse also), but never trumpeted, for obvious reasons, by our government although it liked trumpeting virtually every other China-related deal at the time.

The reason of course is that the deal would have negative political repercussions at home, and the government was not about to broadcast to its own people that the Philippines went against an ASEAN consensus.

I can think of many ways the administration will get stuck in another mess of its own making on this one.


Read Ricky Carandang’s entry, Treason:

Aside from angering our neighbors and potentially undermining regional stability, Arroyo’s action may also be illegal. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez–who was then acting justice secretary — told former Senator Frank Drilon, who was then allied with the administration, that she believed that the deal violated the constitution, because while it was a deal between the state owned oil firms (PNOC of the Philippines and CNOOC of China) of the two countries, it implicitly gave China access to our oil reserves. Officers of the Foreign Affairs Department were also upset because the deal effectively strengthened China and Vietnam’s claim to the Spratlys.

What would compel Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to sign a deal that potentially undermines regional stability, possibly grants China parity rights to oil reserves in the Spratlys that we claim to be ours, and likely violates our constitution?

How about $2 billion a year? After the Spratly deal was signed, the Chinese government committed $2 billion in official development assistance a year to the Philippines until 2010, when Arroyo is supposed to step down from office. My sources tell me that the Spratly deal was an explicit precondition to the loans.

A sizable amount to be sure, but for the Arroyo administration the China loans are particularly appealing. Not so much because the interest rates are so low and the repayment terms so lenient, but because Chinese loans do not have the cumbersome requirements that loans from the US, Japan, the EU, and big multilateral lenders have. Requirements for documentation, bidding, transparency and other details that make it very difficult for corrupt public officials to commit graft. In fact, in November of last year, those cumbersome requirements made it impossible for some government officials and private individuals with sticky fingers to avail themselves of the World Bank’s generosity.

It had gotten to the point where a corrupt government could no longer make a dishonest buck. That is until China’s generous offer came along.

My column, of course begins and ends with a jab at the bishops. An account of how the bishops voted: Mindanao bishops ‘saved’ Arroyo. Noteworthy tidbit, concerning another portion of my column, on E.O. 464, is this:

In seeking the abolition of EO 464, Cagayan de Oro Bishop Antonio Ledesma said the bishops also wanted the Palace to waive executive privilege “in the spirit of truth and accountability.”

Although it was not expressly stated, Ledesma said a waiver on executive privilege “is the essence of the recommendation.”

Iniguez, one of Arroyo’s more vocal critics in the CBCP, echoed Ledesma’s position. Thus, the CBCP reached a consensus on asking President Arroyo to revoke EO 464 in order not to stifle congressional investigations on anomalies in government.

But Oliveros said the CBCP stopped short of categorically asking the President to give up executive privilege since this is a right vested to the Office of the President.

“We are not trying to protect the President but the Office she represents,” he said.


Update 10:47 PM:

Newsbreak emailed me to point out they’d published a report in 2006, unfortunately, it’s only available online at the Geological Society of the Philippines Yahoo Group.

What is available at Newsbreak’s site is the full text of the Agreement Between the PNOC and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

I’ve been apprised that June 2009 is some sort of deadline for the passage of a law on identifying our territorial baseline, and so agreements like this take on a greater significance. If anyone has information on why this deadline exists, and on what basis, I’d appreciate it


On China, additional relevant readings are Parag Khanna’s provocative Waving Goodbye to Hegemony:

Without firing a shot, China is doing on its southern and western peripheries what Europe is achieving to its east and south. Aided by a 35 million-strong ethnic Chinese diaspora well placed around East Asia’s rising economies, a Greater Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere has emerged. Like Europeans, Asians are insulating themselves from America’s economic uncertainties. Under Japanese sponsorship, they plan to launch their own regional monetary fund, while China has slashed tariffs and increased loans to its Southeast Asian neighbors. Trade within the India-Japan-Australia triangle – of which China sits at the center – has surpassed trade across the Pacific.

At the same time, a set of Asian security and diplomatic institutions is being built from the inside out, resulting in America’s grip on the Pacific Rim being loosened one finger at a time. From Thailand to Indonesia to Korea, no country – friend of America’s or not – wants political tension to upset economic growth. To the Western eye, it is a bizarre phenomenon: small Asian nation-states should be balancing against the rising China, but increasingly they rally toward it out of Asian cultural pride and an understanding of the historical-cultural reality of Chinese dominance. And in the former Soviet Central Asian countries – the so-called Stans – China is the new heavyweight player, its manifest destiny pushing its Han pioneers westward while pulling defunct microstates like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as oil-rich Kazakhstan, into its orbit. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization gathers these Central Asian strongmen together with China and Russia and may eventually become the “NATO of the East.”

(I don’t know if the “rallying to China out of Asian cultural pride” is exactly accurate; at least for ASEAN, since the 1990s there have been efforts at strengthening the regional bloc at the very least, to try to prevent individual member countries being intimidated by China; but American indifference has left the region no alternative but to cozy up to China):

This applies most profoundly in China’s own backyard, Southeast Asia. Some of the most dynamic countries in the region Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are playing the superpower suitor game with admirable savvy. Chinese migrants have long pulled the strings in the region’s economies even while governments sealed defense agreements with the U.S. Today, Malaysia and Thailand still perform joint military exercises with America but also buy weapons from, and have defense treaties with, China, including the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation by which Asian nations have pledged nonaggression against one another. (Indonesia, a crucial American ally during the cold war, has also been forming defense ties with China.) As one senior Malaysian diplomat put it to me, without a hint of jest, “Creating a community is easy among the yellow and the brown but not the white.” Tellingly, it is Vietnam, because of its violent histories with the U.S. and China, which is most eager to accept American defense contracts (and a new Intel microchip plant) to maintain its strategic balance. Vietnam, like most of the second world, doesn’t want to fall into any one superpower’s sphere of influence.

Also, see the entry of Steve Clemmons on Khanna’s article in his blog, The Washington Note: for an American’s view on the Khanna article.

And see Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism by Jerry Z. Muller in Foreign Affairs.

Also, while reproduced in one of my responses below, let me add, here, the relevant provision of our Constitution:

Article XII

National Economy and Patrimony

Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.

The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fish- workers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.

The President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country. In such agreements, the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.

And on a final note, more charges, filed against a President who knew her father when he was President: Salonga files plunder case against GMA.

In the blogosphere, an entry related to my previous one, on the Mandate of Heaven: Taoist lessons from Akomismo II. And sad but very, very true reading in Brown SEO.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

247 thoughts on “Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan (updated)

  1. TheColdKing, what’s with the racial slur ’round here? stick to the issue. I’ve been reading the comments, I rarely comment myself, but wow, what a bigot and narrow-minded person you project yourself to be. I’ve always hated individuals who tend to generalize and discriminate an entire culture for the sake of pushing their agenda or their opinion.

    Obviously, once you graduate kindergarten, you may need to take up a class in tolerance and reality.

    I’m half Bisayan and damn proud. Read the Blog and you will realize the extent of my passion and pride to be Bisayan and Filipino. There’s no loyalty to Arroyo, only to honest officials who don’t corrupt the system.

    Damn, I’ve never been so pissed! I won’t comment anymore, everyone else has already rebuked your comments here.

    Back to the issue. Spratlys, NBN, and corruption that leads to the top.

  2. TAPOS na ang BOXING!

    According the GMA, she has GOD’s blessing!

    “And if there is one thing the President says she does when she is at her lowest point, it is to turn to Jesus Christ and his mother Mary.

    “It is Jesus or Mama Mary, that is why I always hold the Rosary,” said the President as she faces mounting calls for her resignation.

    “I pray that the Lord enlighten them,” she said, referring to those who are urging her to give up the presidency.”

  3. Bisayans. They are the nicest, kindest people in the country. No hang-ups, no fear, no garbage…

    The Chinese are the hardest-working people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. They are serious about their work but know how to have a good time, at the proper time. The Chinese have a history and culture unequalled in Asia and the world. These rascist comments have to stop, you are showing your own ignorance.

    As for so many here with their unending quest to regain the glory that WAS, people power pa rin. Good luck. I hope you realize how lucky we are to be in this country, with all we’ve got.

    This is for the young people here…I hope you realize your country is not duping you to join the military and go off to war somewhere you’ve never even heard of….only for some of you to come back broken and everything in your lives following suit. I hope you realize how lucky you are that you can speak your minds without fear of your blogs being shut down and the author imprisoned.

    I hope you realize that with all the problems we could have, recession, AIDS epidemic, armed conflicts, starvation or even bird flu, our problem is minute in comparison….AND FIXABLE, if only we would grow up!

    The problem with us is CULTURAL. We nurtured a generation of spineless, wimpy, asinine whiners and takers who think themselves smart!

  4. My take: FVR will again play a bigger role in keeping (or dropping GMA)in power.

    End-Game of the Generals:
    Generals Esperon and Razon were both PSG during his term and extremely loyal (“Iba and may pinagsamahan.”) Secretaries Ermita (also FVR’s civil relations chief), Ebdane, Mendoza, have their military connections.

    In this country, Colonels are not expected to switch sides. “We’re almost there” Kami naman. That’s why only majors and lieautenants rebel. Not a coup d’etat

    Oligarchs – Aboitiz, Alcantara, Razon, were all part at one time or another of FVR’s “Team Philippines.”

    Enlightened Elite – FVR and Cory still talk to each other. Besides public enemy no. 1 of both – the Marcoses -are allied with GMA

    Local Governments – Ronaldo Puno is the master of the game in grassroots operations. With FVR when Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the 1992 elections were stolen from her.

    I pity VP Noli if he is co-opted to lead. Extensive concessions will be extracted.

    The Filipinos do not have a culture of violence, even in our revolutions. But with the lucky bee’s stubborness, I’m a little worried that blood might spill this time.

  5. MB,

    tameme si bencard sa yo! Hanep! Ang dada niya! Akala niya magaling siyang abogago! Yan pala, kaharap niya diplomat! Pre, bow ako sa yo!

    More power to you!

  6. This is my ideal end-game:
    1. Queen takes black Bishops.
    2. Pawns rebel.
    3. White Bishops join Pawns.
    4. All Bishops and Pawns rebel.
    5. Queen leaves Tower.
    6. Knights annoint new King Pawn.
    7. Annointed King Pawn accepts. Promises to serve 24 moons and proposes new code. Becomes hero and patriot.
    8. All Pawns win.

  7. “Jun Lozada is a fool for having caused division and
    disunity in our country but I assure you who read my
    comment that we who live in the Visayas strongly
    support the president and her administration. Almost
    all of us here in the Visayas and a great percentage
    of the country support the president and we rebuke
    Lozada’s lies and false allegations.”- james.

    i doubt your above claim! i live in visayas my whole life and i know a lot of people who hate the arroyos and their cronies. i can even tell you that we in the visayas are very embarassed to have the defensor(e)and gonzalez spewing stupdity and non-sense! we in the visayas are outraged that a lot of the crooked individuals in the arroyo government are from the visayas! joc-joc bolante is from visayas, iggi arroyo is from visayas. the arroyo clan are from the visayas. jose pidal is buried in molo cemetery who is a great grandfather of the arroyo clan in molo, iloilo city where the original arroyos still live. i personally know some of them cause i went to school with an arroyo. james, if you’re gonna make a claim do it for yourself. don’t include the entire visayas cause i can tell you that you’re claim is plain and simple wrong and an embarassment to a fellow visayan like me!

  8. also, don’t forget that the lopezes(abs-cbn) are also from the visayas and manny villar has ties to…you get it the visayas. that is why never lay a claim that the entire visayan region is pro gma. it might be more appropriate to say that the majority of the visayans are embarrased of the arroyos!

  9. It is a feudal social format. Hence the cultural attitudes of Neustra Senora de Lubao ahora La Reyna de Las Islas Filipinas y su Esposo Gordo Miguel.

    Our presumptive Queen and her Court have had a falling out with her First Minister JDV over the tribute to be paid by a foreign state for the privilege of access to the country.

    Our Council of Elders (the Senate is supposed to be that)naturally want to be a party to that and also some of them are pretenders to the Throne.

    The Prince’s of the Church are undergoing their version of the protest reformation period. A vocal minority is rocking the status quo.

    La Reyna is know explaining to one and all that she rules not with the peoples consent but with the consent of God.

  10. For representative democracy to be truly democratic it must be broad based and not centralized at the top.

    But to be broad based that means a broad base of the population must be vested in the state. That means at a minimum the broad masses must have access to the means of production within the countries boundaries to produce wealth for themselves.

    Take the present GDP growth. Two things stand out. If I made Php 10k last year in nominal everyday terms just like every other year and disinflation occurs I will have stronger purchasing power. The real growth rate goes up. Nominal terms -inflation = real growth rate. It will have a compounding effect on the growth rate.

    However the people who depend on a dollar based income the reverse is true. They are feeling the inflationary effects of dollar devaluation.

    On the other hand rising fuel and food prices are working to drive prices higher and going forward there is a real threat of inflation coming from the supply side.

    So what is the presumptive Queen to do? What is the BSP to do when it has lost its ability to act independently of the U.S. dollar. To keep the prices of oil, pan de sal and rice cheap, you need a strong peso. That means you will have to forget employment prospects for domestic production for the domestic market and simply target a strong peso to keep food prices within reason.

    That means the domestic economy will further contract. There will be rising unemployment and rising inflation. BSP will then raise interest rates to try to keep the peso steady.

    Australia has already raised their overnite rates higher. to crush inflation. The drought has seriously affected wheat prices. There is going to be a lot of interesting things happening in the world and the Philippines could be going through a Copernican moment.

  11. To hvrds & co: I admire your analyses. But there are games of state that fall under “real politik.” i.e. the end justifies the means. Any leader worth his salt must have read Machiavelli’s The Prince. I taught world history, political science, politcal geography in UP so I know what I’m talking about.

  12. mlq3,

    ‘I’ve been apprised that June 2009 is some sort of deadline for the passage of a law on identifying our territorial baseline, and so agreements like this take on a greater significance. If anyone has information on why this deadline exists, and on what basis, I’d appreciate it’

    ‘The UN has set 2009 as a deadline for early signatories of UNCLOS (this includes many developing States). Under Article 76 of UNCLOS, submissions must be backed up by rigorous scientific data defining the outer limits of the continental shelf. States must collect and interpret large volumes of geophysical data describing the shape of the continental margin, measuring sediment thickness and locating the “foot of slope” of the continental shelf. They are deploying techniques ranging from seismic surveying to the analysis of bore hole data.’

    www continentalshelf org

  13. mlq3,

    On continental shelf mapping.
    I know the Philippines is late on this project. I read a few years back that the Philippines bought 2 ships from Spain to do the mapping. Google this for what has been done so far in the HOR.

    ‘Committee studies bill defining country’s archipelagic baselines’

  14. to jakcast with your ideal end-game:

    4. All Bishops and Pawns rebel.
    5. 👿 Queen leaves Tower. 😛
    6. Knights annoint new King Pawn.
    7. Annointed King Pawn accepts. Promises to serve 24 moons . Becomes hero 😆 and patriot 🙄 .

    Damn!!! How come the pawns don’t get to anoint??? 😥

  15. To: UP n student

    Like what I just said. That is real politik! Anyway, that is just a scenario. Please smile.

  16. istambay, “i can even tell you that we in the visayas are very embarassed to have the defensor(e)and gonzalez spewing stupdity and non-sense! we in the visayas are outraged that a lot of the crooked individuals in the arroyo government are from the visayas! joc-joc bolante is from visayas, iggi arroyo is from visayas. the arroyo clan are from the visayas.”

    I agree. Just visit Ellenville, and one will have a sense of Visayan (Ilonggo) rage.

    Same thing with Cebuanos, Bicolanos, Mindanaoans. Doesn’t mean that if some of them are pro-Arroyo, majority or the entire region where they come from are also like that.

  17. mlq3 :

    jakcast, duterte snubbed the president for the second time again. and cruelly, too, saying he had a check up or something in manila.

    ilocos sur didn’t secede when marcos fell. i wonder if it would secede on behalf of a macapagal.

    Maybe the reason why ilocos didnt secede was because Marcos was flown out to hawaii and not paoay ilocos norte?

  18. Something we can pass around:

    Why you should consider going (to the Ayala rally)

    WHAT: “Manindigan para sa Katotohanan, Katarungan at Pagbabago” Inter-faith Rally
    WHEN: Friday, February 29, 2008 5pm-8pm
    WHERE: Ayala cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City

    As someone was overheard saying, “I am attending [the protest rally] because I support the community’s call for truth and accountability. I am coming not for Joey de Venecia or Jun Lozada but for myself. I am coming not because the Opposition is better than the Administration but because I deserve better services from both, period.”

    Let’s try to answer the question, “Why should I go?”

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of being constantly lied to by the government. As observed by civil society leaders, a vicious pattern is becoming evident. First, a brazen act. Then blatant and shameless lies to cover up a criminal act. The Arroyo administration has had a long history of dishonesty, deceit and lying. Its leaders are caught in a tangled web of deception. They can’t even lie well, their outrageous lies often contradict each other and their statements constantly change. Masyado ng tinatanga ang tao. At hindi ako tanga, at ayokong patuloy na magpatanga. I want to express my outrage at the Arroyo regime’s blatant disregard for the truth.

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of graft and corruption, and I believe that the Arroyo administration is massively corrupt. The scandalous Diosdado Macapagal Highway (dubbed “the most expensive road in the world”), the P728-M Jocjoc Bolante Fertilizer Scam (funds meant for the farmers were diverted to GMA’s electoral campaign), the outrageously-overpriced North and South Rail projects, the COMELEC MegaPacific computer deal, the Jose Pidal controversy, and of course the shocking ZTE-NBN fiasco. The unveiling of more and more of these cases is an insult to the populace who witness the heights of injustice and disservice to them. Corruption in public service is anti-poor. The public money that goes to private pockets could have otherwise been used to fund education, provide basic nutrition, construct schoolbuildings, buy textbooks, build hospitals. They could have upgraded the salaries and built homes for our soldiers, policemen, teachers, and government employees. Just one example, the $130-B kickback from the ZTE deal is already more than five times the entire annual budget of the Philippine General Hospital. And that kickback would have gone only to a handful of people, imagine that.

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of the Arroyo administration’s various attempts to cover-up massive anomalies. Instead of trying to uncover the truth about these anomalous projects, the Arroyo regime has instead tried to cover them up and sweep them under the rug. Invoking EO 464 (most parts of which have already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court) to prevent testimonies, refusing to provide documents that could help shed light on matters, even abducting witnesses! As they say, actions speak louder than words. And their actions indicate that they don’t want the truth uncovered. Their actions indicate that they are not interested in fighting corruption. Is this because in most instances, the trail of corruption leads right to Malacanang? They want us to see no evil and hear no evil, even if there are already piles of credible evidence pointing against them. Again, I am not stupid. I can use my best judgment to come up with informed analysis.

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of massive electoral cheating, and I still want to express my indignation at the wholesale cheating in the 2004 elections as exposed by the “Hello Garci” tapes. Stealing the vote is a humongous subversion of our democratic process. And since they were able to get away unpunished for it, they were emboldened to cheat again in the 2007 senatorial elections, most notably in Maguindanao, again with COMELEC’s help, this time through election supervisor Lintang Bedol. School supervisor Musa Dimasidsing, who exposed some of the electoral fraud and was willing to testify, was gunned down in cold blood. Again, they were able to get away with their crimes. Bedol is still scott-free (as is Garci), and the one who benefited from the massive cheating is now in the Senate (guess who?), in the same way that the one who benefited from the 2004 electoral cheating is still in Malacanang (no need to guess who.)

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of the pervading culture of impunity. The Arroyo administration is using all mean fair and foul –mostly foul– to evade accountability. They have resorted to bribing congressmen to thwart impeachment efforts (confirmed by at least two congressmen), and bribing governors to have continued local government support, as revealed by Gov. Ed Panlilio, who was offered P500,000 which he returned. And the bribery happening right in Malacanang! Indeed, the administration and its allies seem to have a penchant for trying to buy off people. Abalos tried to offer P200M to NEDA Sec. Neri to approve the ZTE deal, and Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite gave P500,000 to Jun Lozada, which was also returned.

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of the Arroyo administration’s suppression of legitimate dissent. I am expressing outrage at the hideous extra-judicial killings and disappearances (where is Jonas Burgos?), which even the United Nations largely attributed to be the handiwork of the military. I am protesting state coercion and intimidation, unleashed by government in the forms of Proclamation 1017 (which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), and other violations of our freedom of speech and assembly. Why, they even arrested people (Dinky Soliman etc) for wearing a “Patalsikin na, Now Na” shirt! I am condemning attempts to suppress press freedom with illegal arrests of the media (during the Manila Pen incident) and the warrantless raid on the newspaper Daily Tribune.

    I’m going to the rally because I am sick and tired of the Arroyo administration’s continued destruction of our institutions. Randy David sums it best: “The damage to government institutions has been the most extensive. Far from being a neutral arbiter of disputes and a source of normative stability, the justice system has become a weapon to intimidate those who stand up to power. Far from being a pillar of public security, the military and the police have become the private army of a gangster regime. Instead of serving as an objective referee in electoral contests, the Commission on Elections has become a haven for fixers who deliver fictitious votes to the moneyed and the powerful. The erosion of these institutions, no doubt, has been going on for a long time. But their destruction in the last seven years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency has been the most comprehensive since 1986. In self-defense, we must keep the pressure on the Arroyo regime until it releases its grip on our government. At the same time, we must continue to admonish the custodians of our Constitution to do their work faithfully and urgently, and thus spare the rest of the country from the continuing nightmare of a destructive presidency.”

    I’m going to the rally because I believe that this is not just about the economy, as the Arroyo administration likes to use in its defense, but about rightful governance. What use is a high growth rate if these ephemeral gains have not translated into a better life for most Filipinos? In fact, based on SWS surveys, hunger levels have reached new record-highs under the Arroyo regime, meaning more people are now experiencing involuntary hunger. Sabi nga ni Fr. Jose Echano sa kanyang Mass for Truth homily, “Ang sinasabi natin ay walang tunay na kaunlaran kung walang katotohanan. Ang ating bansa ay di makakamove-on kung nababalot ng kasinungalingan at kaplastikan. Mas mabuti pang gobyerno na may mababang pag-unlad subalit ang nakikinabang ay ang mga mahihirap, pero isang gobyernong na totoo naman keysa isang gobyerno na may mataas na pag-unlad kuno subalit ang nakikinabang naman ay ang mga makapangyarihan at mayayaman, pero isang gobyernong sinungaling naman.”

    Finally, I’m going to the rally because I believe that I can make a difference, however small this may be. I strongly believe in the sovereign right that rests on the people to change a morally-bankrupt regime. Sounds like People Power? Yes, but a new brand of People Power, one that is refined by experience and reflection on past errors. After all, what will happen to this world if at the first or second failure, we stop trying and give up? A People Power that isn’t dependent on some unblemished knight in shining armor that will solve our problems for us, but rather one that is truly people-led and people-centric, requiring our continued active participation and sustained vigilance. We CAN replace a misrule of lying, stealing, cheating, and murder with a rule of truth, honesty, integrity and respect for life. But we have to take the first step, we have to participate, we have to stand up and be counted. As John F Kennedy once said, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

  19. kamote,

    Duterte and his supporters are bragging about a Mindanao Republic. Between an Ilokandia nation and a Mindanao country, the latter may be a more viable option. Especially so if Duterte can forge an alliance with the MILF, a bitter enemy. I have yet to hear Reuben Canoy with his Mindanao Republic, as he did in 1987, teaming up with Nur Misuari.

    btw, in that 1987 proposal for a Mindanao Republic, Palawan was an integral province.

    That brings me to a question for MLQ3. How come we don’t hear a Muslim voice in the Spratly issue with the Chinese?

    Maybe Mindanaoan can give an answer?

    Spratly is part of Palawan (which the Sulu Sultanate claims as a territory), the other parts are claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

  20. If anyone would wish to read books on political economy the economist Robert Heilbroner suggests three; Adams Smith and the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Karl Marx on Das Kapital and Machiavelli ‘s The Prince.

    Just google him and read read read. His synthesis is simple. Both Marx and Smiths genuis lies not in any ideology but in their seeing through to the human condition.

    Smith at the cusp of the industrial revolution and Marx on its actual workings and its fatal flaw.

    What would Marx say about the means of production to reach outer space?

  21. The more people on the streets tomorrow the more the likelihood the gatekeepers of the truth around La Reyna might move to make deals with the opposition for the future security.

    Erap can fund the people from Manila (Lim), San Juan and Makati (Binay) to fill up the place. The left will be there in full force. Cory’s group will be the smallest.

    This is a political rally to send a message. They need to project mass numbers for the domestic and world media.

    Everything now is about projection of perceptions. The parliament of the streets has opened up its sessions.

  22. “oversight? two observations: (1) those honorable senators already have more than enough material needed to enact new or amendatory legislation. (2) the project was cancelled, so no public funds were disbursed” – anthony scalia

    Attempted(?) Frustrated , Consumated

  23. “Finally, I’m going to the rally because I believe that I can make a difference, however small this may be.” – ay naku

    Good for you, one man, one vote, the majority of one…The people are outraged, from the business community to the lowly street vendors, except for a cynical oblivious few whose degree of influence is obliously is non-existent. An isolated, anti-socal bunch of passionless, leisure time commentators, a marked contrast for us who are daily encountering corruption and are tired of it.
    I really hope we see some resolutions to these issues and finally come up with an even playing field for our local as well as foreign businessmen.

  24. For those who say they are in the business sector here and are still oblivious to the realities on the ground.
    Please look at the importation manifests, compare the LC values to the volumes, if you’re keen enough you’ll see “undervalued” cases that go even below half the actual, that is if you know the actual values, some don’t even appear as importations…Corruption has grown unbelievably haywire, its like they’re having a party of some sorts. Companies whose business policies do not allow such practices are having a hard time competing in the local market…
    Do your homework…research actual figures, actual documents, don’t rely on published articles only…

  25. Is it just me or does someone else notice that Mike Defensor is everywhere? I wonder why he loves GMA (and vice-versa) so much….

    “Michael Defensor, a former chief of staff of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, played a key role in the $329-million broadband deal with China’s ZTE Corp. besides giving Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. P50,000 to allegedly keep him from testifying on the anomalous contract in the Senate.Senate witness Dante Madriaga disclosed Thursday that Defensor took part in discussions on the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal purportedly to look after the First Couple’s financial interest.”

  26. brianb

    sorry I don’t talk trash like you do…

    from philstar

    What would you expect of Lozada, an unfaithful husband who cheated his wife for quite sometime having borne 4 kids with another woman. If he lied to his wife then, he could also be lying today but what is sad is that the priest, bros., nuns, bishops, Cory and the opposition believe on his credibility.

  27. mindanaoan:

    “spratly is not part of minsupala.” so what does “pala” in that word mean?

  28. james Says:

    February 29th, 2008 at 7:45 am

    sorry I don’t talk trash like you do…

    from philstar

    What would you expect of Lozada, an unfaithful husband who cheated his wife for quite sometime having borne 4 kids with another woman. If he lied to his wife then, he could also be lying today but what is sad is that the priest, bros., nuns, bishops, Cory and the opposition believe on his credibility.

    -then what do call your above post? pile of stinking sh*t?
    get real and be a man!

  29. “Just an observation on Pinoy Chinese in general. In fairness, most of them are very patriotic and Lozada’s case is an example.” — Madonna

    I dare extend this to the possibility that Pinoy Chinese are far more patriotic than islander Pinoys. The Philippines have been good to them for the most part. They’ve prospered despite being treated like 3rd Class citizens.

    They’ve got more to lose if the Philippines implodes than any of these cretins dancing the ocho-ocho in the streets of Manila. Pinoy Chinese being immigrants have already lost a country but built a new one for themselves in this group of islands named after an obscure Spanish king.

    Compare that to islander Pinoys who’s ancestors’ only challenge in life was waiting for the proverbial guava to fall into their gaping maws. They’ve obviously passed that ethic down to their descendants (as can be plainly seen today).

  30. The bishops are just another political party. The make the same promises as the others do. What makes them more dangerous is that they hide behind the one whose reference is always done with a capital letter. The one whose name you can’t use in vain.

    Thank goodness we can tell the difference between the true words from those of the bishops.

  31. @ ramrod

    In the Chinoy communnity, there was always scuttlebutt that during the time of Marcos, at least alam mo isa lang ang kumukurakot. Nowadays daw, even the janitor in these corruption ridden government offices do petty corruption. (Of course this is taking it to the extreme but I think you get my drift.) I even have a personal experience with private companies where the purchasers are also corrupt.

    So I really just wonder….

  32. Aames Says:

    I refuse to join a rally with the ex-convict Estrada.

    Don’t worry, rally attendees don’t recognize him either. We will be there for a purpose, not to pander to Erap who simply insisted (pinagpilitan) himself to be part of it, but we’re there to denounce the corruption and abuse of this evil government system.

    In not so many words, even Chief Justice Puno agree with the protest action.

  33. For those who wish to see a different angle to the Feb. 25 Redemptorist church rally check out “Unseen and Unsung Heroes, the Eye of the People” at the blogpost dated Feb 26, 2008.

  34. To hvrds & co: I admire your analyses. But there are games of state that fall under “real politik.” i.e. the end justifies the means. Any leader worth his salt must have read Machiavelli’s The Prince. I taught world history, political science, politcal geography in UP so I know what I’m talking about. – jakcast

    It is par for course for politicians to play Machiavelli but it is foolish for the people to play along.

    BTW Manolo, you’re being hacked again.

  35. mlq3:

    sir, did someone kill your template? what’s going on?


    hey dude, i’m just saying the other parts of this country should step up. Let’s hear the voices of dissent from that part of the Philippines. I’ve heard so many arguments that “Imperial Manila is not the Philippines” yadda yadda yadda… then let the rest of the Philippines speak up!

  36. Kabayan,

    Thanks for the info. I know that.


    FEER says China has “historical claim” over Spratly. That’s correct, but such claim wouldn’t stand up again current international laws, the law of the sea (UNCLOS) being one of them, to which the Philippines is a signatory (I stand to be corrected if this is wrong). Thus, there may be no need for the law you mentioned.(“I’ve been apprised that June 2009 is some sort of deadline for the passage of a law on identifying our territorial baseline, and so agreements like this take on a greater significance.”)

    My little understanding of UNCLOS is that Philippine waters, esp. for outlying islands like Palawan, cover as far as 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the shore, except for those border isles like Sibutu (Tawi-Tawi) where this won’t apply. China can explore in those waters beyond the 370-km limit of Palawan, and need not worry bullying a small country. But RP should not allow itself to be trampled upon, unless it has no concept of sovereignty whatsoever.

    Back to that claim. It remains where it has left, into the dustbin of history. Otherwise the whole of Southeast Asia can also be claimed by China being part of “nanyang” (southern ocean), island communities where it traded and even exacted tributes in the past. But those were the years of “kopong-kopong” (very ancient).

    According to some sources, even Sri Paduka Batara, ancestor of the Sulu sultan, was paying tribute to the Ming Emperor during the 15th century. He and his retinues visited the emperor in 1417 and died there of illness. Today, his tomb lies in Shantung province, and guarded by his now Chinese descendants. The loss to Tausug becomes the Chinese gain. Anyway, three of Sri Batara’s many apos visited Sulu in 2005, accompanied by Teresita Ang See of Kaisa, after 600 years.

    The “nanyang” concept must be so deeply ingrained among traditionally minded mainland Chinese, many of whom still consider the entire Spratly islands as their traditional fishing grounds. That’s why we often hear of “illegal” Chinese poachers being caught in the Kalayaan area (now a province or barangay of Palawan?) by Philippine authorities.

  37. Manolo,

    Bad choice of color. We’d all get eye trouble reading your blog. If this is a hack it’s more effective than the past hacks.

  38. About Spratlys. I just don’t want the Philippines to get in the position wherein we will have to defend territory with blood. The Chinese have great killer instincts, unlike us Pinoys. Imagine if all that is standing between them and our claims to the Spratlys is a few vocal people. I’m talking assassinations here.

  39. mlq3,

    The next time you make a design change please let us know. The colors was just terrible. As BrianB said ‘We’d all get eye trouble reading your blog’.

    Backup you files mlq3.

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