The Original Sin and the Continuing Crime

080308_03co_640.jpgMy column for today is Cory, Erap, Binay, Noli, Satur and J-Lo, which discusses the question of whether united front politics have any value at this time (a very observant peek at the administration’s coalition building was in Patricia Evangelista’s Sunday column, Gangs of Manila). In my column, I point to Hello, Garci as the Original Sin and the abduction of Jun Lozada as the Continuing Crime (see Reflections on the Bangsa Moro here and here).

Concerning the Original Sin, it’s frustrating to me that much of the refusal to take the issue seriously comes from the childish argument “they all cheat anyway,” which, even if true, is beside the point: a generalization is as nothing when confronted by a specific case of someone caught.

Anyway, it also frustrates me that people insist there is no evidence, or that what evidence is hearsay, only. For their part, supporters of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. have been doing a thorough study of the fraud in the 2004 elections, and doing so, mind you, without attracting publicity or calling attention to themselves. Generally, their efforts have identified the fraud as having had three phases:

1. The disenfranchisement of voters in areas that were opposition-inclined, and the increase of voters in administration bailiwicks.

2. The systematic padding and shaving of votes, particularly in Luzon and the Visayas, to preserve the expected percentages of the candidates but which would result, over-all, in decreasing opposition votes and shifting those votes to the administration.

3. An emergency, in many ways, ad-hoc effort to secure a winning margin of votes after the results of voting in Luzon and the Visayas showed that the first two phases still hadn’t managed to obtain a winning margin for the President; in the emergency operation in Mindanao, the President micromanaged the effort, which was clumsily undertaken, and the first to be exposed.

The research of the FPJ supporters took two years to undetake, particularly because phases 1 and 2 were quite sophisticated. But they cracked the system and I’ve been nagging them to circulate their findings so the public can study their arguments. Finally, they’ve begun doing so and here’s the first of several PowerPoint presentations you can download, study, and dissect (and rebut, if you wish).

Here it is, examining phases 1 and 2 of the 2004 cheating: 2004 Electoral Fraud PPT Presentation 1 (click the PCIBChartsData12.ppt link)

Yesterday’s Inquirer editorial called the administration Spratley’s policy a Slithering policy.

As I mentioned in my entry Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan (updated) , it’s well worth reviewing our Constitution. I’d referred to the relevant article before, but not the crucial last sentence which I’ve highlighted, see this extract from Article 12: National Economy and Patrimony:

SEC 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 raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. Private enterprises, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to broaden the base of their ownership.

SEC. 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 fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.

The President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical of 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.

The President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty days from its execution.

The Secretary of Justice says he read the agreement and that nothing in it violates the Constitution. As far as his statement goes, he is correct. But as Carandang suggests below, it’s what the President did, after the agreement was signed, that could open up Constitutional questions. If the Constitution requires the President to inform Congress of any contract, then the question is, did she inform Congress? The contract itself pledges the parties to secrecy, except for authorized government agencies, clearly adhering to our own Constitution requirements; but did the President then comply?

In his entry yesterday, Ricky Carandang continues his ongoing investigations into what, really, the Spratleys deal is all about, and its potential infirmities, constitutionally and otherwise. It was an effort to wiggle out of constitutional requirements by calling a spade a preliminary earth-moving device:

Note that the President is allowed to enter into agreements with foreign corporations to explore for oil, provided this is done in accordance with the law and provided Congress is notified of the agreements within 30 days of its execution.

Congress was never notified of the agreement and the Palace had no intention of doing so. In fact, the agreement has never been released to the public. So how did the Palace lawyers get around this?

By simply referring to the agreement as a pre-exploration activity.

The palace geniuses and their allies pushing for the deal argued that by labelling the seismic study as a pre-exploration activity, it did not constitute exploration per se, and therefore they had no obligation to notify Congress. But others raised the issue that seismic mapping was in fact already part of the process of exploration. In their eagerness to sign the deal, they said by simply referring to it as a pre-exploration agreement that would be enough to circumvent the constitution. The problem is simply declaring it as pre-exploration doesn’t necessarily make it so. But that’s why the text of the agreement refers to it as a pre-exploration activity. And that’s why the [Palace] press release above made it a point to say that the agreement was not an exploration agreement, but merely a study.

The problem is that any oil industry expert will tell you that seismic mapping is in fact, part and parcel of exploration activity. In the oil exploration business, pre-exploration activity consists of mostly of studying the regulations, lining up the financing, and obtaining the licenses and the other government approvals necessary to begin exploration. Again, don’t take my word for it. Do the research. Talk to oil industry experts. Google “oil exploration” or “seismic exploration” and you’ll see ample literature out there on seismic studies and how they constitute part of exploration.

Case in point: In 2002 the Department of Energy granted an oil exploration company called Forum Energy a license to explore for oil and gas in the Reed bank of Western Palawan. The license was called Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract (GSEC) 101. A GSEC, as its name implies, is a license to explore for oil or gas in our territorial waters. As you can see, seismic surveys are part and parcel of exploration activities. Their exploration gave them enough reason to believe that GSEC 101 contained oil and gas in commerical quantities, so Forum applied to convert their GSEC into a Service Contract (SC). Normally, having given a company a GSEC, the DOE would grant the SC as a matter of course. After all, if you let them explore, you would also let them drill. But unexpetedly, te DOE balked at convefting Forum’s GSEC into a SC, something that almost never happens.

The problem with Forum was that after the Philippines and China (and later Vietnam), signed the Spratly deal the Chinese government began to apply pressure on the Philippine government not to convert Forum’s GSEC into a SC, because GSEC 101 was part of the area included in the joint exploration deal. In asserting its rights under the Spratly deal, China is now questioning the granting of exploration licenses in an area where we were already granting drilling licenses to private companies. As far as I know, China did not contest the granting of the GSEC to Forum in 2002, but the Spratly deal has emboldened China to do that now. Forum saw the writing on the wall and sold its stake in GSEC 101 to Monte Oro Resources and Energy, a local firm partly owned by Walter Brown of Philex and and reportedly, Enrique Razon of ICTSI (yes, there’s a story here which I will save for a later date).

As we can see from this example, the Spratly deal has already weakened our claim on certain territories we claim as our own, like Palawan.

In view of the preceding sentence, see RP knew Spratlys exploration ‘too close’ to Palawan. See also 6 Philippine-occupied islands covered in Spratly agreements. As with all the ongoing scandals, the net keeps catching more than the usual flotsam and jetsam: De Venecias, Razon behind oil, gas extraction by UK firm. The only question is, as Senate to start new probe on Spratlys exploration, is, will it serve as a distraction from the NBN-ZTE deal? Perhaps not, as it’s all related, anyway.

And as usual, it’s the behavior of the Palace that validates the old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Instead of asserting that its embarked on a visionary initiative, the Palace’s reaction is to duck responsibility: Spratlys project put on hold as Chinese ODA mess rages. And not only ducking, but it’s trying to pass the buck: Palace: Let De Venecia explain Spratlys deal. But the problem with this is that if the ex-Speaker acted as the broker, his brokering the deal required presidential approval. The Palace is probably calculating that de Venecia will not want to incriminate himself and so, won’t incriminate the Palace. And others who may be considered collateral damage in the deal, won’t spill the beans either: Mañalac knows more than Spratlys deal: The hotshot geologist was fired for allegedly blocking Palace interest. But by all accounts, even if summoned to the Senate, he won’t talk beyond confirming that the contract he signed was, to the best of his knowledge, constitutionally-sound (and as I’ve pointed out, probably so, up to the point of signing but not thereafter).

The Palace itself has acknowledged what’s at stake: Gonzalez: 3 trillion cubic feet of gas at stake in Spratly deal.

For reference, since Text of Spratlys agreement disappears from DFA site (sourced from Newsbreak):

Agreement-Bilateral Marine Seismic Undertaking.pdf.


Tripartite Agreement-Marine Scientific Research.pdf.

As for what seismic exploration is, it’s explained in See also the Encyclopedia of Earth entry. Greenpeace states, unambiguously, that seismic exploration is “the first stage of oil and gas exploitation in an ocean area.” How everything comes together can be gathered by looking at the processes (and incentives) granted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation:

The investment opportunities in the downstream are many. Some of them are:

Refining, Petrochemicals and Gas Utilization

In order to reduce the investors’ risk, speculative seismic data acquisition is carried out in the deep offshore using the services of reputable data acquisition companies. In the inland area, there is direct involvement in exploration activities.

For his part, Mon Casiple says one problem is that there are oppositionists more interested in dribbling the ball than in going for the game-winning three-point shot:

In the meantime, the Senate plans to continue the hearings–possibly with new witnesses–amidst a spreading and more organized public campaign against the Arroyo administration. This maintains pressure on the president while avoiding an immediate decisive confrontation that forces a GMA resignation.

A prolonged crisis scenario without a decisive ending favors those who do not want GMA to resign immediately and therefore usher in a Noli de Castro presidency. If the crisis does not force their hand, they would want to prolong things and bask in the priceless public fascination with the scandal.

What I think we have here is a dribbling of the ball. Meantime, there are unforeseen consequences–not the least of which is a possible polarization of the situation.

The ultimate futility, politically speaking, of arguing that the economy is doing well to justify turning a blind eye to official corruption,is exposed by Amando Doronila in ADB report links RP corruption to investment dip (here is the ADB paper he commented on:critical-dev-constraints.pdf.) The futility of that argument is further demonstrated by the results of parliamentary elections in Malaysia. No one can doubt that the ruling party had put in place an economic policy resulting in growth. But along with inflation, it was the issue of crime, including allegations of widening official corruption, that forced the Prime Minister to call for early elections and the elections resulted in the defeat of the ruling party -the first since 1967. See Malaysia’s Leaders Suffer Setback in, and Malaysia’s ruling coalition suffers stunning blow Malaysia’s ruling coalition suffers stunning blow and Shock election result for Malaysia’s ruling party in the Financial Times. Incidentally, t seems a blogger, Jeff Ooi, has also been elected as an opposition MP!

People interested in questions of autonomy might want to take a look at The coming pain in Spain in The Economist, which discusses the reasons why Spain’s ruling party faces a tough time at the polls.The problems of bureaucratic reforms is also tackled in another Economist article, What’s holding India back?

In All Roads Lead to Rove, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick looks at a book by one of the attorneys fired for partisan political reasons by the Republicans, an issue the writer says was raised “some zealous congressional oversight and award-winning journalistic coverage” by a blogger. The question of executive privilege has also been raised in the United States, particularly as the present American administration keeps mutating its definition:

As Mukasey has argued and Jonathan Turley has decoded, the Bush administration formulation of executive privilege constitutes a perfect legal möbius strip: “[L]awyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president – and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.”

In Questionable privilege? Alex Pabico of the PCIJ introduces readers to Executive Privilege Versus Public Interest by Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, which provides an exhaustive overview of executive privilege issues that have arisen in the Senate. In his column today, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. dissects the proposed compromise peddled by the Supreme Court in Anatomy of a rejected compromise.

Starting at midnight tonight, there will be a major transport strike: Provincial bus operators to join strike; government fielding free transport. The cost of oil is just one of the bread-and-butter issues of which every government has a horror: today’s Inquirer editorial calls it a Food emergency. See Prices of rice seen high in all of 2008 and RP, others hurting as rice price skyrocket and DTI heeds flour millers’ appeal, but . . . and

And in another triumph of the rule of law, Imelda not guilty of dollar salting.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

304 thoughts on “The Original Sin and the Continuing Crime

  1. cvj said,

    A number of things have happened over the intervening 2,000 thousand years that makes the concept of Direct Democracy both more feasible, and more necessary.

    Increasingly that is coming closer to reality at this rapidly advancing age of information technology.

  2. DJB,
    Thanks for the clarification, I know we are only human and I know you have been consistent about liberty. You have discussed with me the importance of memes,Dean and; indeed they are important.

    Let me take a look at abstracts of Goldberg’s “liberal fascism “so I can at least relate to what you are driving at.

  3. i think “direct democracy” “supplementing” a real representative democracy has another name: fascism.

  4. Only in this day and age is when the real possibility of direct democracy is coming to the fore. The technology of cellphones and texting is still what I consider as “infant” information transfer technology. Eventually this will improve, barring any worldwide catastrophic calamity.

  5. Right now we are engaged in what was considered only several decades before as “impossible” and now here we are doing real time discussions and even being a used as a basis for policy formation.

    In our hands actually destroys old paradigms due to advances in technology. As such some concepts have gone to the age of the dinosaurs.

  6. DJB, among the successful examples, you have Gandhi’s satyagraha against the British. More recently, You have the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and related events (both before and after). Those involved more than twenty people.

    Among the unsuccessful examples, Tiananmen, and the march of the Burmese monks last year. Also more than twenty people.

  7. cvj,

    You act and argue as an intellectual, an apt term for you.

    But when you (granted, like many, many others; I’m in the minority on this) say that you’ve “listened to the tapes and therefore know a, b and c”, I cringe. How anyone can just accept that stuff at face value? I sometimes suspect willingful blindness.

    Yeah, maybe I’m the one who is blind. But then again, there’s a reason why the law requires certain bare minimums of criteria for determining evidence or fact. There’s a reason why science requires such.

    I don’t claim to know the truth. You do. The facts don’t support your claim. This is your problem…even though you and others keep trying to make it mine.

  8. Kabayan, i agree that technology plays a part in enabling direct democracy. IMHO, more important is the way Modern Society is organized, i.e. functionally rather than hierarchically. A functioning society is now composed of specialists and generalists. There is no more room for elitists.

  9. It is the tendency of those who have become “comfortable” with the status quo that fears any change even if the change itself stamps out bad systems. That is the way it is, like a virus evil evolves in forms and tries to adapt its ways to exploit a government system. Later the nation gets “sick”. When an anti-virus is injected, a battle then rages and the body gets uncomfortable for a while but eventually gets well.

    As with our nation, we simply give it “pain relievers” but the virus itself in not neutralized. Hence people sick and tired of these “virus” attached in government must truly oust them and implement a continuing system of vigilance and education so that those who replace them will never used these positions in such an abusive way again.

  10. cvj,

    True a functional heirachy is more apt for this day and age. Before tiers of representatives were necessary. Now, these tiers can be greatly reduced, some projections used for decision making can even be replaced by AI programs. The old heavily tiered representatives have become unwieldy due to the volume of people and the way the petitions are processed still use the old ways which representatives have become accustomed with.

  11. kabayan,

    i can imagine no greater evil than a direct democracy empowered with electronics. Imagine if you will a pure direct democracy, with one man one vote 366/24/7 on ALL matters.

    How many seconds do you think before humanity returns to AUTARKY after such an unmitigated disaster. Just think of it!


    Episodic revolutionary movements in which peaceful Ghandiosities work well enough to replace violence and destruction are NOT human social systems.

    Wanna know what a “working direct democracy would have to be like?” Watch the Star Trek episodes on The Borg!

  12. When the Garci issue died, I interpreted it as weakness in the way Philippine politics is conducted — politicians both in the administration and the opposition lack the resolve to get to the bottom of things.

    When the fertilizer scam came out, I thought the opposition had a real issue on its hands — wholesale corruption where the victims are countryside peasantry. At the very least, it hit a constituency that can move congressmen, people in power who can initiate impeachment. Again, the opposition lacked the resolve to pursue a potent issue to its logical conclusion.

    I think that looking at GMA’s record in handling these past issues helps put a certain perspective to the current issues afflicting us at this moment — the NBN project and its implications to our sovereignty on the Spratly islands.

    But resurrecting the Garci controversy, the fertilizer scam, 2004 Presidential Election cheating, etc. etc. as if it were still current is counter-productive. I hope the opposition can build the best case that it can on the NBN project, tracing the decision-making process that facilitated its approval. Only a laser-like focus on this issue will make it possible for something productive to come out — a piece of legislation, a strong impeachment case, a case for the Ombudsman with a chance of winning in litigation.

    I’m sick and tired of seeing the opposition dropping the ball over and over again, facilitating their electability without getting any real work done.

  13. DJB,

    At present, the people does not even have a say in BASIC matters. And it would not be as catastrophic as you may project it. People simply need to see what truly is happening and be assured that they are heard. For example, transparency in government transactions, if truly given attention, can easily be done. Corruption can be reduced to a minimum. Also, the representatives should be aware what are the REAL needs of the people, not what they THINK the people needs. That is why they are representatives in the first place. Online census can now project the needs of the people. Using these information technology as a basis would give much of the basic needs of the people at the very least.

  14. DJB,

    The Borg does not really represent direct democracy since they are controlled by a Queen. Hope you watched the Voyager (Janeway) series so that you can really see what the Borg system is like. The control is primarily IMPOSED by the Queen. They remove all emotions first before the drones can decide on any policy. Even then Rebel drones (yes there are) are stamped out ruthlessly. Not unlike what this present government Queen would have gone if given her way to all things.

  15. cvj,

    Pontius Pilate? Wow. So let me get this straight. Your position is:

    “I know the truth. How? Because I know. No, no proof needed. Proof is an illusion. Whoever thinks differently is the equivalent of Pontius Pilate. Or supports Pontius Pilate. I, though, am on Jesus’ side. I am right. I deem you wrong. Oh…and I think your world should be disrupted and imperiled because I know the truth. Trust me; I do. You and your family will just be part of the overall collateral damage. Tough luck, I guess.”

    Hope you don’t mind that I don’t join your movement. Are you surprised that the majority also doesn’t want to either?

    Pontius Pilate. Sheesh.

  16. JMCastro:

    that’s because you’re relying on politicians to do the job. one of the ways to influence that pea-brained crop of morons in the legislature is to impress upon them that “getting real work done” equals electability. i just don’t know when and how that’s gonna happen.

  17. “Aquino represents the dreams of Edsa I and II, which may not have achieved everything we’d hoped for, but left the country better off than what had come before.”


    EDSA 1 and 2 was never about Cory? Cory is still dreaming that the two EDSAs was hers. Unfortunately the people have learned to wake her up and “slapped” her several times in th epast years and most recently in the Ayala interfaith rally. Pero ayaw talaga magising eh. Oh well mahirap kasi gisingin ang nagtutulogtulgan.

  18. tonio:

    I agree with you, that’s why I support some civic causes in my spare time. Unfortunately, most of them are grassroots efforts which would take a long time to come to fruition.

    It’s the current crop of (as you say) “morons” in the legislature who are holding the ball, and I’m afraid they’re in danger of dropping it.

  19. Suppose that we had had a fully functional electronic powered direct democracy in 2001. Do you folks really think there would’ve been the Regime Change we saw performed by a Man in Chief Justice costume? In what sense can People Power be considered a “direct democracy” when even the 200,000 human props that were there shouting their lungs out (including me!) didn’t have a say in how it was done? Most of those don’t even know to this day what really happened to the Senate then, and how we are paying for it still.

  20. Truth is that Gloria is a severe liar who said that she would not run for elective post after 2004 yet she did.

    Truth is that Congressmen prevented any investigations on the Garci Scandal.

    Truth is that they had protected Jocjoc Bolante from being questioned at the very least.

    Truth is that there is a discrepancy between the reports of the Singapore government and the Philippine government where according to Singaporean authorities Garci had supposedly passed in their country while the Philippine government claims that Garci did not and his passport supposedly proved it.

    Truth is that Bunye released two CDs claiming that one was correct and the other wrong.

    Truth is that the voice in the CD was that of Garci and Gloria.

    Truth is that Congressmen prevented the proper investigation of the hauled ballot boxes from Congress which was caught on tape.

    Truth is that people were arrested simply because they were wearing Palitan Na, Now Na T-shirts.

    Truth is that Bedol can’t be found at this moment.

    Truth is that a Chinese ship caught in Tubhattaha reef was released with a Coast Guard escort.

    Truth is that there are more truths but are being covered up.

    Truth is that the government issued the midnight E.O. 464 and persecuted Col. Balutan and Gen. Gudani for answering questions in Senate

    Truth is there are so much more revealing truths but some people refuse to see it.

    Truth is that some people don’t want to remember these truths.

    So please, stop twisting the truth.

  21. “Jeg
    March 10th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Geo, if I remember correctly, the electoral fraud case was prematurely terminated on a technicality. The SC incredibly ruled that Susan Roces had no legal personality to pursue the case after FPJ died. As if electoral fraud had FPJ alone as a victim and not the Filipino people.
    If PFJ is not the victim and its the filipino people, hindi kaya dapat yung Filipino people mismo ang nag habol sa korte imbes na si Susan Roces lang.

    I don’t kno but this Susan Roces thing just look to me so much as the lowlessness of the opposition.Kopyang kopyang kay Ninoy at Cory eto.

    Ang problema, kahit nag kapi bisig na ang dalawang byuda sa mga rally , wala pa ring dumagsang tao para makapag people power.

  22. DJB,

    A more proper representation of society through electronic means (assuming that these aren’t corrupted by cheating mechanisms and hacking of course) is far better than a dictator who THINKS he knows what is best for the country. A dictator can think that filling his own bank account with the money from the people is best for the country in his own point of view. Representatives should use information coming from the people because that is the very reason they are REPRESENTATIVES, not mini-despots.

  23. “Truth is that Gloria is a severe liar who said that she would not run for elective post after 2004 yet she did. “—

    Take note , people have voted for here despite of that “lie”. But hey, is this really a lie or just a change of heart? Is this really that big deal or you are just making so much big deal about it? Geesh , this happened 4 or 5 years ago?

  24. “Truth is that Congressmen prevented any investigations on the Garci Scandal. ”
    If that is the case why not go after these congressman ?

  25. Even if crimes are committed decades ago at the very least must be remembered so that they will not be repeated again. I doubt if you have a loved one raped and saw the rapist after 50 years you would just forget it?

    So now Gloria said she will step down in 2010 and she doesn’t, does that mean she simply had a change of heart?


  26. Rego:

    All of what Kabayan says matters if only to remember how we got here. It’s moving forward from where we are now (now that the current issue is the NBN deal and its ramifications on Philippine sovereignty) that is difficult.

  27. “Truth is there are so much more revealing truths but some people refuse to see it.”

    I dont think “truth” is point of contention at all. TO me its all about how to go about it. Some peoepl insist on using people power and forced resignation while others prefer the legal, fair, and less chaotic way.

    And the biggest problem of all, masyadong over dramatic and overreactionaries yung iba.

  28. Can you imagine the ramifications on Philippine sovereignty if the one to two million hectare lease of Philippine agricultural land to a China firm under vague terms was fully implemented?

  29. i hate this new format of mlq3’s blog.
    won’t you revert back to the old format manolo?
    this format makes for painful reading

    i noticed comments dropped after the change

  30. rego,

    People power remains an option whether you like it or not.

    I guess if you consider the reaction of people when they discovered this anomaly translating to 14 billion dollars as “dramatic”, what can I say, perhaps being dramatic is an understatement.People are Outraged.

  31. A Letter From Diosdado Macapagal to His Daughter

    “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”Diosdado Macapagal

    Dearest Hija,

    It is with much pain that I write this letter from Heaven .

    I heard that things are not going too well down there . As your father who loves you very much ,I will always try to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    But having been a President ,I also can feel the anguish and the pain of our people as they suffer from the widespread corruption under your administration.

    Hija,I know that it is not 100% your fault.But as a President,”the buck stops with you!”

    I have no plans to do any sermonizing.(We have too much of that here.)

    I will just suggest that you reflect on these relevant points from my autobiography:

    “Among my stronger points are my upright character and my highly broadening extensive education. Among my weak points is my unconcern for money beyond my elemental needs, which is not wrong in itself but a handicap in the maintenance of political power and leadership.”

    Modesty aside,I left a good legacy for your two brothers,your sister and and especially for you.

    Please do not allow anyone to destroy the “MACAPAGAL” name in Philippine history.

    In the long continuum of time,what really matters is the good we leave behind.Tell Mike,he can’t take it with him (not even one cent) when he finally meets our Creator!

    Your time in office is running out.But do not despair! It is not too late to to do what is right.Do it now, hija.

    Your mother and I will always pray for you.

    We love you very much.

    Your Papa

  32. Is it safe to say that the vote-counting processes, procedures, databases and all ancillary things are being improved? One would think that “leadership from the elders” will bring non-partisan focus to get COMELEC fixed (e.g. timeliness and integrity of vote-counting; integrity of voter’s registration list).

  33. mlq3, the arguments that “they all cheat anyway” and that “the evidence are hearsay” are the least of the administration’s defenses that should bother anyone. if the fpj supporters really have indubitable evidence of cheating, why didn’t they give it to his running mate, loren legarda, to bolster her own election protest which was eventually dismissed for lack of merit? i, for one, believe that the outcome of legarda’s case should put all issues of alleged cheating to rest, for the simple fact, as geo pointed out, that the ballots examined were the same that were cast for the president.

    as to the spratleys “deal”, while it is a new political fodder for the president’s enemies which they can milk for all the negative perceptions it can generate, i don’t think it’s anything that the president should lose sleep over. even granting, for argument’s sake, that a 30-day notice of the agreement to congress was a condition sine qua non for its finality, the absence of such a notice, i think, merely renders the agreement voidable at the instance of the party harmed by the omission.
    i am not aware of any law penalizing the president for such an omission, so it cannot be a criminal offense. for impeachment purposes, i do not think it is a willful, conscious, or culpable violation
    that could support a charge for impeachment.

    i cannot, for the life of me, understand the view that the agreement “weakens” our claim over certain territories covered by it. as far as i see, such agreement is in no way, shape or form, a repudiation or diminishment of our sovereignty claims. if anything, it is consistent with our claim of sovereignty because how can someone with no “right” of title, or even a color of it, make any kind of disposition concerning the territory in question? if china and vietnam do not recognize our “claim”, do you think they would even bother making us a party to the agreement?

  34. mlq3,

    “scalia, culpability as accomplices, yes, but there was only one position that the cheating was engineered to secure, and only one beneficiary of that cheating”

    i thought cheating is cheating, no matter what the eventual result is?

  35. @kabayan

    re responsve to cvj…..”Increasingly that is coming closer to reality at this rapidly advancing age of information technology.”

    I wish it were so. Sadly, we still have the big digital divide to cross and this process is slow. (ie the have-blogs from the have nots). Would the poor pay for P1000 unlimited broadband rather than for food? It will probably take another generation in our case…(maybe longer) And then we have the much abused ‘information’ part to tackle…


  36. Geo,

    cvj’s mind is made up on the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes. he refuses to accept the fact that the opposition is equally guilty of cheating.

    cvj takes all that eager beaver nagpakabayaning si Alan Paguia says about the tapes hls.

    i can’t forget Paguia’s immortal words, in his plea to the rest of the world to believe his adulterated version of the tapes “porke ba dating abogado ako ni erap, wala na ba akong karapatang magsabi ng katotohanan?”

  37. rego,

    “Ang problema, kahit nag kapi bisig na ang dalawang byuda sa mga rally , wala pa ring dumagsang tao para makapag people power.”

    bigla kong naalala nung 1986 snap elections. the philippine collegian of UP spoofed marcos’ slogan “subok sa krisis” as “subok ng subok krisis pa rin”

    parang gusto kong hiramin yung phrase at i-apply sa mga people power attempts ngayon –

    “subok ng subok, wala pa rin ang mga tao!” or

    “subok ng subok, nakaupo pa rin si gloria”

  38. Jeg,

    “The SC incredibly ruled that Susan Roces had no legal personality to pursue the case after FPJ died. As if electoral fraud had FPJ alone as a victim and not the Filipino people.”

    sorry my friend, thats the law. a presidential electoral protest does not survive the dead protester

  39. From the very beginning of this Spratly Folly it was said that the agreement included the wording: “The issue of sovereignty will not be prejudiced.”

    That’s pretty much end of story. Unbelievable how this has been blown up. To get back to my much earlier post — it’s amazing how the media just flits about with all kinds of loose journalism. Let’s see if any heads will roll at PDI…..

  40. @ cvj

    functional could also be hierarchical. hierarchical is more often contrasted with flat and networked, defined as self-organising, dispersed, and more difficult to manage. as Kabayan stated, older notions of command and control don’t always work.

  41. maginoo, the difference is in the level of complexity of modern society such that there is no universal hierarchy. The modern social system is functionally decomposed into specialized subsystems (e.g. legal, political , economic, medical etc) and any hierarchy would be operative only within the subsystem and not outside. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, farmers and even politicians may have their respective internal elites but they are elites only within their respective spheres.They cannot be considered elites from the point of view of society as a whole. Rather, from the standpoint of the social system, they are merely specialists in their own fields of expertise. This is in contrast with pre-modern society where you have aristocrats, priests, commoners and serfs.

  42. cvj, when these “internal elites” get elected to congress, they then become national elites, no? for example, a sugar baron may just be a leader in his land-owning caste, but thrust to a nationwide audience, he/she is transformed into Philippine liege lord.

    look at the pedigrees of the members of the latest congress.

    my point: functional does not erase hierarchical.

  43. maginoo, that attests to the pre-modern character of [segments of] Philippine Society. These elected sugar barons think that since they are lords in their provinces, they should continue to be lords in the legislature. From time to time, fellow commenter Vic tells us about how the legislature works in Canada, a society that is more modern than ours.

  44. Just came from a dinner meeting in, as usual, EDSA Shang, this time in Senju, perhaps the best, albeit quite expensive Japanese restaurant ever.
    Business is perceived to have slowed down due the uncertainty brought by our political situation, yes, it has reached the point already to be noticed by an otherwise cynical group. GMA will never step down before 2010, but she has to be stopped. Noli de Castro is not an acceptable successor, at least as far as businessmen are concerned, he will add to more uncertainty.
    So the consensus is, allow Gloria to stay on until 2010, but, a compromise must be reached, a credible body must be formed (a neutral, third party, not opposition, not admin) that will oversee the resolution of all the scandals, assure Gloria of safe haven from reprisals (warranted or unwarranted) and find closure to all this once and for all. This way she will stop being in the defensive, so she stops paying all the generals and they become less of a threat, in effect stop the internal hemorrhage of funds which we will be paying for eventually.
    Bottomline, Gloria will have to go gracefully, damage control to our coffers must be in order, and the opposition must stop all hostilities.
    Of course, these could all be just self-serving, with the business environment in mind not the morality issues and may not bear well with other sectors.
    Myself, I think this would be a better deal, but then again, I’m not a totally morally upright person, I’m in the business sector.

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